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Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 15:14 UK

Terreblanche laid to rest in South Africa

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Jonah Fisher reports on a 'peaceful' funeral service

The funeral of South Africa's white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche, who was killed at his farm on Saturday, has taken place without major incident.

Several police and army units were deployed to prevent possible clashes between supporters of Mr Terreblanche and the local black population.

About 3,000 people commemorated his controversial life in the rural north-western town of Ventersdorp.

Mr Terreblanche led the Afrikaner Resistance movement, the AWB.

AT-THE-SCENE
Pumza Fihlani
Pumza Fihlani, BBC News, Ventersdorp

The funeral service started with the singing of Die Stem, the anthem of apartheid-era South Africa.

Mr Terreblanche was described by speakers as a "friend", a "visionary" and a "fallen lion". The atmosphere was sombre and many heads were bowed in respect.

Apart from a handful of black journalists, policemen and some black government officials, this was a white ceremony. Black community members had been asked to stay away by trade union group Cosatu, which held a rally nearby.

Outside the church grounds, AWB flags coloured the sky. Hundreds of cars and motorcycles lined up for almost 1km (0.6miles).

Perhaps as a precaution, some 50 police officers were also present - many Afrikaners here are angry at the killing of their leader and have threatened to avenge his killing.

The ceremony at the Afrikaner Protestant Church ended with some mourners performing Nazi-style salutes.

Following the ceremony, Mr Terreblanche's coffin accompanied by the mourners travelled to his farm, about 10km (six miles) away.

Thousands of AWB supporters gathered in the town, with the mourners including armed men in camouflage as well as young children, says the BBC's Karen Allen.

South Africa's trade union federation, Cosatu, held a mass meeting on the other side of the town.

Our correspondent says the effect of this meeting - called to discuss recent farm violence - was unclear.

On the one hand, it was a way of occupying black farm workers who otherwise might have turned up at the funeral, she says.

But on the other hand, it could be seen as a somewhat provocative gesture given the timing, she adds.

Map

The church where the service was held is normally attended mostly by white South Africans.

Some had travelled long distances to take part in the funeral.

As a gesture of reconciliation, dignitaries from the local black community were invited to attend the service, our correspondent says.

But just a handful of them took up the offer.

Murder charges

Two of Mr Terreblanche's workers have been charged with his murder.

Although the authorities stress that the killing had more to do with money than politics, it has led to a period of heightened racial tension.

The death of Mr Terreblanche and the rising popularity of Julius Malema of the ANC Youth League are destroying South Africa's hard-won peace, opposition leader Helen Zille said.

White groups and opposition parties blamed Mr Malema for singing an apartheid-era song at rallies, that includes the lyrics "shoot the Boer [farmer]".

The ANC has rejected that link, but accepts that the song and the debate around it was polarising society.

It has now instructed its members to stop using it.



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