Poland prime minister: Czech Havel was a hero to the Poles

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Dec. 20, 2011, 2:46 p.m. | World — by Associated Press

Archbishop Dominik Duka, right, chairman of Senate Milan Stech, 2nd left, and Parliament chairman Miroslava Nemcova, 2nd right, wait as Czech Republic's President Vaclav Klaus, left, signs into a book of condolence for former Czech president Vaclav Havel downtown Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011.
© AP

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's prime minister says his country is bidding farewell to the late former Czech President Vaclav Havel as if he were a national hero. Premier Donald Tusk gave praise to Havel after signing a condolence book at the Czech Embassy in Warsaw on Tuesday, two day's after Havel's death.

Tusk recalled how he and other anti-communist dissidents drew inspiration in the 1970s and 1980s from Havel's work and writings.

Communism crumbled across the region starting in 1989.

Tusk says that without Havel's words, "these great things might never have happened."

Tusk says, "Poland is bidding farewell to Havel as if he were our national hero. ... Not only a great Czech, but, in some sense, also a great Pole, a great European has gone."
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