Singapore marks 50th birthday with grand parade
Some 250,000 spectators are expected to take part in the festivities from 6:00 pm (1000 GMT) -- among the largest in the city state's history -- which will include some 2,000 marchers, 50 military aircraft and 177 tanks and other security hardware.
The procession, which will be capped by a fireworks display, is the high point of a jubilee year largely choreographed and funded by the government, which is expected to call for general elections soon to extend its rule against a divided opposition.
Singapore became a republic on August 9, 1965, when it was ejected from the Malaysian federation following a stormy two-year union.
The celebrations kicked off Sunday morning when sirens blared at 9:00 am (0100 GMT) before national TV and radio stations broadcast a 2012 recording of Lee Kuan Yew rereading the original declaration of independence.
"At 50 years, as we stand at a high base camp, we look back and marvel at how how far we have come," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a televised message.
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