Tens of thousands of Russians massed outside the Kremlin to rally against terrorism Tuesday as mourners lowered caskets into the damp earth at a Beslan cemetery four days after the school siege that claimed more than 350 lives.
Demonstrators - some bearing banners saying "We won't give Russia to terrorists" and "The enemy will be crushed; victory will be ours" - observed a moment of silence at 5 p.m. (1300GMT) before an hourlong rally that authorities said drew about 130,000 people to the cobblestones near St. Basil's Cathedral, wrote Jerusalem Post.
According to the Voice of America, Mr. Powell, who along with his deputy Richard Armitage paid a condolence visit earlier in the day to the Russian embassy, said the entire civilized world condemns the North Ossetia attack, especially the murder of children.
He said the United States will work closely with Russian authorities "in any way we can" in the follow-up to the tragedy, and is looking forward to the official Russian investigation of the attack to see what it reveals about the perpetrators.
In response to a Russian request for help, the U.S. has delivered two planeloads of emergency medical supplies worth nearly $600,000 to North Ossetia with a third aircraft due there on Wednesday.
In an official statement cited by a pro-Kremlin Web site, the Russian Federal Security Service spokesman for Russian forces in Chechnya, Maj. Gen. Ilya Shabalkin, said federal forces had taken action to protect the rebel leaders' relatives from vigilante attempts at revenge for the school tragedy.
The official death toll of the three-day siege, which ended in deadly explosions and gunfire, stood at 335, plus 30 attackers; the regional health ministry said 326 of the dead had been hostages, and the Emergency Situations Ministry said 156 of the dead were children.
At the muddy cemetery in Beslan where gravediggers have opened up two new tracts in the past three days, relatives opened the tiny coffin of 8-year-old Vasily Reshetnyak, touched his forehead and kissed him goodbye. A favorite toy - a red car - was placed alongside his body, informs Guardian.