Ethiopians, heads of state pay respects at Meles funeral

September 2, 2012 18:09

ADDIS ABABA - Tens of thousands of Ethiopians and at least 15 heads of state turned out on Sunday to pay their respects at the funeral of Meles Zenawi, the guerrilla leader turned economic reformer who died last month after more than two decades in power.

The prime minister's coffin, draped in the national flag and placed on a black carriage, moved slowly from his residence to the vast Meskel Square, in a procession that included a military band and religious dignitaries.

The coffin was set in front of the crowd waiting in the square, and the assembled priests, wearing the colorful robes of the country's Orthodox Tewahedo Church, intoned solemn prayers.

Mourners waved flags and some wept as they listened to speeches from their prime minister-designate, other African leaders and a senior US official.

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