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Tens of Thousands Mourn Victims of Shanghai Fire

Firefighters spray water on an apartment building on fire in the downtown area of Shanghai, east China, on 15 Nov 2010

Tens of thousands of people rallied in the Chinese city of Shanghai Sunday, to mourn the 58 victims of a high-rise apartment fire last week.

Lines of mourners stretched for several blocks under the watch of hundreds of police, who allowed them to place flowers in front of the blackened shell of the building.

Shanghai residents have been going to the site for days, but Sunday's crowds were the largest yet. According to Chinese tradition, the seventh day after a death marks the peak of the mourning period.

One sign at the site read, "Don't cry, Shanghai."

Authorities say 12 people have been taken into custody in connection with last Monday's disaster.

Investigators are blaming illicit subcontracting, weak oversight and the use of shoddy materials for the tragedy. Luo Lin, the head of the State Administration of Work Safety, said welders working on the building's renovation ignited the highly flammable bamboo scaffolding and nylon netting that surrounded the building.

The welders who sparked the blaze were unlicensed and improperly supervised.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP.