More than 3,500 military and municipal police will be deployed to patrol this year’s Water Festival, which will be held in Phnom Penh for the first time since 2010, when 353 people were killed in a stampede on a bridge leading to Koh Pich island, senior police officials said Monday.
The festival—which usually draws about 1 million people to the capital—will be held this year from November 5 to 7. The festival has been canceled for the past three years due to seasonal flooding and the death of King Father Norodom Sihanouk.
Brigadier General Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police, said that 1,500 military police officers would be deployed to ensure this year’s festival goes off without a hitch.
“I think that the number of people at the festival will increase, because we did not have the water festival for a few years,” Brig. Gen. Tito said.
“We hope that the incident [the stampede in 2010] will not occur again. We cannot allow this…to occur again,” he said.
Phnom Penh police chief Lieutenant General Chuon Sovann said more than 2,000 municipal police would also be on duty. “I think that compared to the last festival, we can prepare the forces better than before,” he said.