Cuba has started nine days of mourning the death of its revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, who passed away late on Friday.
Flags started flying at half mast on Saturday, with the mourning period set to run until 4 December when Castro’s ashes will be taken to the south-eastern city of Santiago de Cuba where he will be to be laid to rest.
Eyewitnesses in Havana the capital of Cuba said the streets were packed with groups of people carrying Cubans flags, pictures of Castro and chanting revolutionary slogans.
“Many people in the streets look visibly shaken by news of Castro’s death,” a correspondent in Cuba said. “Even though Castro had been ill for many years, news of his death has still come as a shock to thousands of Cubans who regard him as their liberator from America.”
Castro came to power in 1959 and defied US attempt to force the island Communist state into submission through an economic embargo after Washington cut ties with Cuba in 1961.
Although President Barack Obama restored diplomatic ties with Cuba in 2015, the economic embargo largely remains in place.
Castro, who survived scores of attempts on his life by the CIA maintained his rule through 10 US presidents.