Thousands of people packed Tehran's streets Thursday in an emotional funeral procession for Ahmad Shamlou, Iran's most celebrated contemporary poet who died on Monday, an AFP correspondent saw.
An estimated 5,000 people gathered at Tehran's Iran Mehr hospital on Shariati street in the early hours of Thursday, holding red roses in their hands and singing Iran's national anthem.
The crowds following the hearse carrying his coffin towards the central Mirdamad avenue, are due later to be driven in some 40 buses to the Emam-Zadeh Taher graveyard in Shamlou's hometown, Karaj, west of Tehran.
Shamlou's poems on love and freedom were echoing through the streets through loudspeakers while the crowds joined in and applauded.
AFP's correspondent said the procession was more like a celebration of Shamlou's life and works than a sombre gathering of mourners.
Shamlou died on Monday at the age of 75 after a long period of illness.
He had been suffering from cancer and had been hospitalized for the past several weeks.
He was regarded by critics not only as Iran's greatest modern poet, but as a poet of world standing, who contributed greatly to the reformation of Persian poetry which started at the beginning of the 20th century. He was particularly highly respected by secular intellectuals - TEHRAN (AFP)
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