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Czechs and world leaders show Havel respects

Czechs and world leaders today bid farewell to ex-Czech President Vaclav Havel through attending a state funeral held in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague.

Current and former secretaries of state from the US were joined by important figures from France, the UK, and numerous ex-communist countries at St. Vitus cathedral. Outdoors, the church’s bells could be heard ringing out across the capital, with thousands following the service.

Mr Havel, who was one of the main forces behind communism being overthrown in 1989, passed away aged 75 after a respiratory illness. His health issues arose after spending time as a political prisoner whilst the communist party was still power. For over two hours, thousands could be seen standing in silence on a hill that overlooks Prague as they paid their final respects to a dissident playwright that became a president. During his life, Vaclav Havel was tied to an artistic counter-culture rarely embraced in Czechoslovakia before.

Central Prague’s famous Hradcany Square was brimming with punters as Dominik Duka, the Archbishop of Prague, lead the procession while being accompanied by both priests and altar servers. Indoors, Vaclav Havel’s coffin was draped with a Czech flag – representative of the nation he lead for 10 years after its velvet divorce from neighbouring Slovakia in 1993.

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