More than half a million Egyptians turned out for the funeral of the Arab world's top singer, Um Kalthoum, in Cairo on Wednesday (5 February).
More than half a million Egyptians turned out for the funeral of the Arab world's top singer, Um Kalthoum, in Cairo on Wednesday (5 February). Policy lining the route of the funeral cortege were powerless to control the emotional people who surged through cordons to get close to the coffin.
For greater security, the coffin containing the body of the 76-year-old "star of the east" was transferred to a police ambulance.
Um Kalthoum died on Monday after suffering a brain haemorrhage and lying in a coma for five days. She was idolised throughout the Arab world, and the turnout of mourners in Cairo was the biggest since the funeral of President Nasser in 1970.
Despite strong security precautions, and an official appeal for order and calm, the grief of the crowd at one point threatened to turn the solemn occasion into chaos. In the disruption, Egyptian Prime Minister Abdel Aziz Hegazi and other officials, including senior government representatives from 20 Arab countries, were cut off from the head of the procession.
Un Kalthoum -- who thrilled audiences with her haunting voice for over 50 years -- was later buried in a family tomb in a Cairo suburb.