From the United Nations headquarters in New York, U Thant's body was flown back to Rangoon but no guard of honour or high ranking officials were on hand at the airport when the coffin arrived.
On the day of U Thant's funeral on December 5, 1974, tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Rangoon to pay their last respects to their distinguished countryman whose coffin was displayed at Rangoon's Kyaikasan race course for a few hours before the scheduled burial.
The coffin of U Thant was then snatched by a group of students just before it was scheduled to leave for burial in an ordinary Rangoon cemetery. The student demonstrators buried U Thant on the former grounds of the Rangoon University Students Union (RUSU), which Ne Win had dynamited and destroyed on July 8, 1962.
During the period of December 5 through December 11, 1974, the student demonstrators also built a temporary mausoleum for U Thant on the grounds of the Rangoon University Students Union (RUSU) and gave anti-government speeches. In the early morning hours of December 11, 1974, government troops stormed the campus, killed some of the students guarding the make-shift mausoleum, removed U Thant's coffin, and reburied it at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda, where it has continued to lie.
U Thant's Tomb, Shwedagon Pagoda Road, Yangon (Picture from Wikipedia)
Upon hearing of the storming of the Rangoon University campus and the forcible removal of U Thant's coffin, many people rioted in the streets of Rangoon. Martial law was declared in Rangoon and the surrounding metropolitan areas. What has come to be known as the U Thant crisis --- the student-led protests over the shabby treatment by the Ne Win government of U Thant --- was crushed by the Burmese government.