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Czechs and world leaders bid farewell to Vaclav Havel

Radek Mica / AFP - Getty Images

Left to right, Lech Walesa, Poland's president from 1990-1995, former U.S. chief diplomat Madeleine Albright and former U.S. president Bill Clinton, attend the funeral service for former Czech president Vaclav Havel at the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, on December 23, 2011. Havel, a dissident and playwright who was the hero of the 1989 Velvet Revolution against communist rule and became his country's first post-independence president, died on December 18, 2011 aged 75. World leaders joined Czech dignitaries to pay homage to Havel at his state funeral in the historic Prague cathedral.

Michael Sohn / AP

Mourners react as the car with the coffin passes during the state funeral of former Czech President Vaclav Havel in the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Friday, Dec. 23, 2011. Havel was the leader of the peaceful anti-communist "Velvet Revolution." He died Sunday, Dec. 18, at age 75.

AP reports:

Odd Andersen / AFP - Getty Images

Britain's former prime minister John Major and current prime minister David Cameron arrive for the funeral service for former Czech president Vaclav Havel in Prague, on December 23, 2011.

Czechs and world leaders paid emotional tribute to Vaclav Havel on Friday at a pomp-filled funeral ceremony, ending a week of public grief and nostalgia over the death of the dissident playwright who led the 1989 revolution that toppled four decades of communist rule.

Bells tolled from churches while a wailing siren brought the country to a standstill in a minute of silence for the nation's first democratically-elected president after the nonviolent "Velvet Revolution."

Havel's wife Dagmar, family members, friends and leaders from dozens of countries gathered Friday at the towering, gothic St. Vitus Cathedral which overlooks Prague. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron were among some 1,000 mourners who bowed their heads in front of the coffin draped in the Czech colors. Continue reading...

Milan Jaros / EPA

Scouts watch the funeral of late Former Czech President Vaclav Havel in the courtyard of the Prague Castle in Prague.

Petr David Josek / Pool via EPA

Soldiers carry the coffin during the state funeral of late former Czech President Vaclav Havel in the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.

David Brauchli / Getty Images

Mourners watch the state funeral of former Czech President Vaclav Havel transmitted live onto large-screen monitors outside St. Vitus Cathedral on December 23, 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic.

David W. Cerny / Reuters

A picture of the late former Czech President Vaclav Havel is seen among lit candles placed in tribute to him at Wenceslas Square in Prague December 22, 2011. Havel, an anti-Communist playwright who became Czech president and a worldwide symbol of peace and freedom after leading the bloodless "Velvet Revolution", died at the age of 75 on Sunday.