About 3,000 people took part in a final run-through Saturday morning of the procession that will deliver the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s body to its cremation site on February 1.
The procession, organized by the national police, was made up of members of the military, police and security forces, as well as representatives from all government ministries, CPP youth groups, the Red Cross, a small group of ethnic minority representatives and a military brass band.
The groups that participated in the rehearsal walked 1.5 km of the planned 6 km route, which includes Sisowath Quay; Sihanouk, Norodom and Sothearos boulevards; and the roads around Wat Phnom and Independence Monument.
The marchers will be joined by the royal family, high-ranking CPP officials and VIP guests, as well as a vehicle carrying the late King Father’s body.
Addressing Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol at a meeting following the rehearsal, Defense Minister Tea Banh called the practice procession passable.
“I think that the marching today was acceptable and I hope that the parade on the cremation day will be better than this,” he said.
On Saturday evening, more than 20,000 monks joined King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath for a ceremony in front of the Royal Palace marking 100 days since Norodom Sihanouk died at the age of 89 in Beijing on October 15.
According to the Venerable Khin Sorn, deputy chief monk of Phnom Penh’s Mahanikaya Buddhist order, the monks hailed from across Cambodia and from foreign countries including Thailand, Australia, France, Canada and the U.S.
King Sihamoni and Queen Mother Monineath exited the Royal Palace compound and walked among the monks during the ceremony, which started at 5 p.m. and lasted until 6:30 p.m.
Khin Sorn added that the ceremony was meant to instill patience and peace in the people prior to Friday’s procession and the late King Father’s cremation on February 4. The events are expected to draw about 1.5 million people to the capital.
City Hall also issued an announcement on Friday outlining road closings and traffic-control measures that will be taken from February 1 to 4.
The streets on which the procession will take place will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to midday on Friday, along with surrounding roads east of Monivong Boulevard, north of Chaktomuk Theater and south of Wat Phnom.