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The WHITE SUPREMACIST Eugene Terre'Blanche's funeral takes place in "South Africa" amid tight security*

The WHITE SUPREMACIST Eugene Terre'Blanche's funeral takes place in "South Africa" amid tight security*

[ Hundreds of supporters of Eugene Terre'Blanche attend his funeral ]

The white supremacist Eugene Terre'Blanche was buried today following a packed funeral service in his small home town, an event that at times resembled a throwback to the peak of the apartheid era.

Thousands of mourners, some dressed in the paramilitary garb of Terre'Blanche's Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) movement, flocked to Ventersdorp in South Africa's North-West province, near the farm where his body was found last Sunday.

Despite heavy security, with helicopters hovering above the above the church and police in body armour patrolling the streets , there was no immediate sign of trouble. Some AWB activists had vowed revenge for Terre'Blanche's murder and blamed the ANC for singing an apartheid-era song at rallies that included the lyrics "shoot the Boer".

As the white mourners arrived, many flying South Africa's apartheid national flag from their pick-up trucks, black residnets looked on with suspicion but there was no visibly overt hostility.

Terre'Blanche, 69, was allegedly beaten to death, with some reports suggesting the attack related to a dispute over pay with his farm workers. A 28-year-old man and a boy of 15 have been charged with his murder.

Shortly before midday, local time, Terre'Blanche's coffin was carried into the church. Draped with the AWB's Nazi-like red, black and white flag, it was borne by burly men wearing brown military-type fatigues with shoulder markings stamped Boer Kommando. Many more people stood or sat outside, listening to the service on speakers.

As well as two renditions of the apartheid-era national anthem, Die Stem, or The Call, and bible readings, the service included an address by Steve Hofmayr, an Afrikaans country singer. He told the mourners, to applause: "We have lost more than any other European people in Africa. You must understand that to understand the Afrikaaners. You must understand that."

After the service, a motorcade left for Terre'Blanche's farm, where he was to be buried on a family plot.

His death has not as yet prompted widespread violence, although the suspects' first court appearance brought heated, race-based confrontations outside the magistrates' building in Ventersdorp.

Terre'Blanche backers and some other white groups have sought to blame Julius Malema, leader of the ANC's Youth League, for provoking the attack by singing the song Shoot the Boer.

The ANC has rejected that link, but accepts that the song and the debate around it was polarising society and has instructed members to stop using it.

Terre'Blanche, with his bulky figure, white beard and fondness for attending rallies on horseback, became an international symbol of extreme-right opposition to the dismantling of apartheid in the early 1990s. He had been in relative obscurity since his release from prison in 2004 after a sentence for beating a black man nearly to death.

09 .03. 2010