Thousands line streets in Cuba for Fidel Castro's funeral

Updated: 

Thousands of people lined the streets of Santiago as Fidel Castro's ashes arrived at a cemetery to mark the start of funeral ceremonies for the former Cuban leader.

A 21-gun salute was first sounded in the capital Havana, as Castro's ashes were taken to the cemetery in eastern Cuba to be interred.

In Santiago, thousands lined the short route from the Plaza of the Revolution to the Santa Ifigenia cemetery waving Cuban flags, singing the national anthem and shouting "Viva Fidel".

castro
(Ramon Espinosa/AP)

Earlier, Cuban president Raul Castro said his government will ban the naming of streets or public monuments after his brother, in keeping with the former leader's wishes.

Raul Castro
(Ramon Espinosa/AP)

He told a crowd gathered to pay homage to Fidel in Santiago that the country's National Assembly would pass in its next session a law fulfilling his brother's desire that "once dead, his name and likeness would never be used on institutions, streets, parks or other public sites, and that busts, statutes or other forms of tribute would never be erected".

Fidel, 90, who died on November 25, kept his name off public sites during his time in office because he said he wanted to avoid the development of a cult of personality.

Castro
(Ramon Espinosa/AP)

In contrast, the images of his fellow revolutionary fighters Camilo Cienfuegos and Ernesto "Che" Guevara have become common across Cuba in the decades since their deaths.

Raul spoke at the end of a second massive rally in honour of Fidel as Cuba neared the end of its nine-day period of public mourning.