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Ethiopians mourn their long-time leader, Meles Zenawi

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

People mourn the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, outside the national palace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aug. 24.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Government ministers and officials, including acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, center front, pay their respects before the coffin of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, at the national palace in Addis Ababa, Aug. 24.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

A military officer grieves as he waits to pay his respects at the coffin of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, at the national palace, Aug. 24.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

A woman holds a sheet of paper showing images of Meles Zenawi, both as prime minister and as a rebel fighter in his younger years, reading 'Meles, We love you, Courageous Leader,' as she mourns with others outside the national palace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aug. 24.

Simon Maina / AFP - Getty Images

Ethiopians hold up candles and a poster of their late Prime Minister as they wait to pay their respects at the coffin of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as it lies in state on Aug. 24 at the National Palace in Addis Ababa.

Thousands gathered outside the entrance to the palace to grieve in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, four days after Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died of an unknown illness. His death, after more than 20 years in office, leaves a power vaacum and is a loss of a trusted ally of the West in the fight against Islamic militants. A government spokesman said that Meles will be buried on Sept. 2.

Story: Meles leaves behind richer, less tolerant Ethiopia

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