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Last Updated: Thursday April 07 2005 18:05 GMT

Millions in Rome for Pope's funeral

People queueing in St Peter's Square in Rome

By Laura Jones
BBC Newsround, Rome

I was expecting to get out of the airport and to be mobbed by the sheer number of people in Rome, but that's not the case, at least not until you get to Vatican City.

Once you start getting near there are loads of police around and lots of people giving out free bottles of water to crowds.

Sleeping on the street

It's quite staggering inside Vatican City as there are a couple of million people there, and loads of kids.

Many of them look to be getting ready to spend the night here, with sleeping bags and bedrolls with them.

People sleeping in St Peter's Square in Rome
People sleeping in St Peter's Square in Rome
There is a massive queue of people outside the Basillica still hoping to see the Pope's body before it is closed on Thursday evening.

Officials have been trying to stop any more people from travelling to Rome, even using text messages, but it doesn't seem to be working.

In St Peter's Square everyone is quiet, although not in a sombre way and choral music is being played through a series of speakers.

It's amazing to see so many people here with the music, and to see the window where the Pope famously waved to the crowds that gathered to see him.

Hundreds of journalists

Preparations are now under way for Friday's funeral, and lots of work has gone on to help journalists report from Rome.

A huge platform has been put together at one end of the square, around 45m high, that lots of the journalists are using to broadcast from.

There are hundreds of cameras and hundreds of reporters.

Security is going to be much tighter on the day of the funeral, because so many world leaders will be here, there are warnings mobile phones might not work.

That's not because of security reasons, but because with so many millions of people squeezed into such a small place, the mobile networks are struggling to cope.



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