Weeping and grimacing, dozens of spectators at the Rwandan genocide memorial in Kigali have had to be carried from the stands as the emotional turmoil of the ceremony left many overcome with grief.
In disturbing scenes, performers at the Amahoro stadium in Kigal re-enacted events of the 2004 genocide, which resulted in almost a million deaths.
Actors dressed in grey and white played dead on the football field, while sorrowful wails and uncontrollable sobs resounded.
Thousands of Rwandans were in the country's main sports stadium on Monday to mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the devastating 100-day genocide.
Global leaders, past and present, were also in attendance to remember the tragedy in which more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus were slaughtered over an 100 day period, mostly with machetes.
President Paul Kagame and Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, lit a flame at the Kigali genocide memorial centre.
As one survivor began recounting his story, several in the crowd began to scream with despair. Counsellors had been stationed in the crowd to attend anyone overcome with emotion by the day.
The day's events were marred by a diplomatic spat with France over the country's role in the genocide.
President Kagame told Jeune Afrique on Monday that France and Belgium had done too little to save lives.
In response, France's justice minister announced he would not come to Kigali as planned. The Rwandan ambassador to France later announced that the French minister would have been banned from the memorial in any event.