Final Preparations Put in Place for Sihanouk’s Cremation

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.

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