South African Police Prepare for Mandela Ceremony

Monday, 09 Dec 2013 05:03 AM

 

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JOHANNESBURG — A police spokesman in South Africa says that "thousands" of police officers will be on hand for a ceremony honoring Nelson Mandela in a Soweto soccer stadium.

Lt. Gen. Solomon Makgale said Monday officers would "make sure people are able to grieve in a safe environment." Makgale said South African police, diplomats and intelligence services had been in touch with foreign delegations to protect visiting heads of state, including President Barack Obama.

More than 80,000 mourners are expected to attend the memorial Tuesday for the anti-apartheid hero at a stadium in the Soweto township where Mandela made his last public appearance at the closing ceremony of the 2010 soccer World Cup.

Officials say they'll block access if too many people come to the stadium. Overflow sites are planned.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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