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The coffin of former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel is transported to Prague Castle. Havel's state funeral is planned ...
for Friday. (Dec. 21)
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[Location - Date:PRAGUE/DEC. 21][Source:APTN][VO:][INSERT: Wire Copy]a0508222 intw pra eurwBC-EU--Czech-Havel, 1st Ld-Writethru,0331Vaclav Havel's coffin transported to Prague CastleThousands join Vaclav Havel's widow in procession that takes former president to Prague CastleEds: Updates with details, quotes; adds photos. AP Video.elfd/lon/nkoppel meld/int/kjanicek fasst4924APPhoto: PJO101-1221110902APPhoto: PJO102-1221110850APPhoto: PJO104-1221110816APPhoto: CTK802-1220110000APPhoto: CTK803-1220110000 PRAGUE (AP) _ Thousands of Czech citizens joined Vaclav Havel's widow, family members and friends in a procession Wednesday to pay respects to the late Czech president. The casket containing Havel's body is being transported from the Prague Crossroads, a former church turned by Havel into a cultural center, to the Prague Castle, the seat of the presidency where it will be on display until Friday's state funeral. Many of those who lined the streets greeted the black car carrying the coffin with applause. "He's a moral authority for me, an icon," said Jakub Sevcik, 35. "It's my last opportunity to say goodbye at the end." The presidents of France and Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy and Christian Wulff, as well their counterparts and leaders from many other countries are expected to attend the funeral at the country's biggest and most famous church, St. Vitus Cathedral. Thousands waited patiently for hours when the coffin with Havel's body went on display Monday to pay tribute to the former leader who died on Sunday at age 75. Flags at state institutions across the country were lowered to half-mast as the government declared three days of national mourning, starting Wednesday. An official memorial is planned for Havel later in the day at the castle. Havel's flag-drapped casket was placed on a historic caisson for the final part of the journey and was escorted by an honor guard to the place where he spent more than 12 years as president. Havel's successor and political archrival Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Petr Necas and other Czech leaders joined Havel's family, while thousands packed the square in front of the castle and applauded. The caisson, drawn by six black horses, is the same that bore the coffin of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, Czechoslovakia's first president after it was founded in 1918, during his funeral in 1937. The casket will be at the 15th-century Vladislav Hall until the funeral. BNCINDEX 12/21/2011 4:22 AM(****END****)