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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2006, 22:39 GMT
Tributes paid at Pinochet funeral
Funeral of General Augusto Pinochet in Santiago
Chile's government has denied the general a state funeral
Family members and friends of Chile's former military leader Augusto Pinochet have paid tributes to his presidency at his funeral in the capital, Santiago.

President Michelle Bachelet, herself a torture victim during the Pinochet rule, did not attend the ceremony.

She sent her defence minister, who was booed by the general's supporters.

Gen Pinochet died on Sunday, aged 91. Thousands died or disappeared during his 17-year-rule, and he was accused of human rights abuses.

The Chilean government had denied the general a state funeral, so the ceremony was conducted with military honours at Santiago's Military Academy.

Flags there were flown at half-mast as several thousand of the general's supporters gathered outside the building.

Gen Pinochet's daughter Lucia Pinochet Hiriart urged the crowd to keep alive what she called the flame of freedom of his rule.

Some of the supporters held photographs of the man they see as Chile's saviour, the BBC's Daniel Schweimler in Santiago says.

The criminal died without every knowing the meaning of being convicted for all his horrible crimes
Hugo Gutierrez
Human rights lawyer

After the funeral, Gen Pinochet's body was flown by helicopter to a crematorium on the coast.

His ashes will be given to his family who did not want a grave or memorial to become a focal point for protest our correspondent says.

Earlier, Ms Bachelet said Chileans should not forget what happened under Gen Pinochet.

"Only then will we have a constructive vision of our future, guaranteeing respect for the fundamental rights of all Chileans," she said.

The decision to refuse a state funeral was in the best interests of the people, she added.

Mixed feelings

Gen Pinochet's death has sparked conflicting emotions in the country. Opponents have celebrated, but others are mourning their former leader.

More than 3,000 people were killed or "disappeared" during Gen Pinochet's rule.

The former leader was accused of fraud as well as human rights abuses, but poor health meant he never faced trial.

Despite his human rights record, many Chileans revered Gen Pinochet, believing he saved the country from Marxism and put Chile onto a path of strong economic growth.

On Monday, as many as 60,000 people are estimated to have filed past his open coffin as his body lay, dressed in an army uniform, at the military academy.

Gen Pinochet seen on 25 November at celebrations for his 91st birthday
Gen Pinochet celebrated his 91st birthday last month

But as some were weeping at his funeral, across town several thousand anti-Pinochet protesters gathered outside the Presidential Palace, where there is a monument to Salvador Allende, the elected president overthrown in Gen Pinochet's 1973 coup.

Riot police fired water cannons to disperse protesters in central Santiago and 39 people were arrested, Reuters news agency said.

In November this year, Gen Pinochet was placed under house arrest over the abduction of two people in 1973.

The charges - the latest in a series - related to the so-called Caravan of Death, a military operation to remove opponents of his rule.

Church leaders have said that his death is a chance for national reconciliation.

It was time "to pray for the soul of Gen Pinochet, but also for the soul of Chile," Santiago Archbishop Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Mourners pay their last respects to Gen Pinochet





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