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Thousands bid farewell to Vaclav Havel

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 01:37

Dec. 23 - World leaders join thousands of mourners paying their last respects at former Czech president Vaclav Havel's funeral. Sunita Rappai reports.

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His body lies in front of the altar in the Gothic St Vitus cathedral at Prague Castle - the traditional seat of Czech kings and presidents. A thousand guests filled the monumental cathedral for Vaclav Havel's funeral - the dissident playwright who led the peaceful 'Velvet Revolution' and became president of what was then Czechoslovakia in 1989 . Havel stepped down as president in 2003 but he remained a symbol of the struggle for freedom and human rights around the world. World leaders including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill, former British prime minister John Major and current premier David Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy were amongst those paying their respects. Earlier, thousands across the Czech Republic paid tribute to his memory by observing a minute's silence. Havel served five years in jail for this criticism of oppressive communist rule before rising to the presidency. He died on Sunday aged 75 after battling a long respiratory illness. Sunita Rappai, Reuters

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Thousands bid farewell to Vaclav Havel

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 01:37