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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Fortuyn to lie in cathedral
Mourners pass by flowers
There has been a huge outpouring of grief
The body of murdered Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn is to lie in Rotterdam Cathedral the day before his funeral, the Dutch Catholic Church has said.

Church spokesman Peter van Zoest told BBC News Online: "It is the wish of the family and it is very unusual. There will be a lot of people."

Funerals of even high officials in the Netherlands are often private affairs. It is believed that the last time a body lay in state in the Netherlands was in 1962 when Queen Wilhelmina died.

Fortuyn march
The Mayor of Rotterdam led a march through the city
Mr Van Zoest said it was unclear if the body of the controversial anti-immigration politician would be on view, but he expected the coffin to be closed.

He said Fortuyn - who was openly gay - had been a very religious Roman Catholic.

Rotterdam Cathedral - which was Fortuyn's parish church - will also hold his funeral on Friday.

Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok and the leaders of most leading political parties are expected to attend the service, which will be conducted by Bishop Adrian van Luyn.

The funeral will be preceded by a procession through Rotterdam.

After the ceremony, Fortuyn's casket will be taken to the town of Driehuis-Westerveld, on the north-west Dutch coast, where it will be interred briefly in the family vault.

Silent march

It will then be taken for a second funeral and burial at Pordemone in the north of Italy where Fortuyn had a holiday home.

The Mayor of Rotterdam, Ivo Opstelten, led about 15,000 people in a silent march through the city on Tuesday.

The square in front of Fortuyn's villa in Rotterdam is covered with flowers, flags and messages of condolence.

Those wishing to pay their respects to Fortuyn on Thursday can visit Rotterdam Cathedral between 1500 and 2200 (1300-2000 GMT).

See also:

08 May 02 | Uefa Cup
Low-key plans for Uefa final
07 May 02 | Europe
Dutch press in shock
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