Several government and Royal Palace regulations are going into effect today as part of the funeral procession for the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.
Some will last the entire mourning period, from February 1 to 7, while others will expire earlier or remain in place for only a few moments during the cremation ceremony.
The funeral and seven days of mourning begin today, followed by the cremation on Monday.
As it’s a royal funeral, royal rule comes first. The palace is barring local and international tourists from visiting from today until the 7th.
“The Royal Palace wants to keep a quiet environment during the second period of mourning in order to express the latest respect to Samdech Ta [a reference to Sihanouk],” a palace security guard said on condition of anonymity.
According to an edict from the Ministry of Agriculture, poultry and other meat-sellers are forbidden from transporting their product in certain areas after 5am each morning.
The routes covered under the ban, which expires on February 6, go from the Cham Chao roundabout all the way up Russian Boulevard, and span the entire lengths of Norodom, Sihanouk and Sisowath boulevards.
The ministry claims the ban is not related to the four avian influenza deaths last month, but is meant to keep the roadside clean during the funeral procession and cremation.
Sonny Krishnan, communications officer with the World Health Organization in Cambodia, said a partial ban would not have a huge impact on public health in such a crowded setting.
“I think live poultry should be prevented from entering the city where there are large concentrations of people.”
Lasting the entire mourning period, national flags must fly at one-third below the top of the mast across the country, while entertainment activities, including TV and radio programs, will be suspended.
Finally, Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered that on the day of the cremation itself, when the coffin is first lit with fire at 6pm, everyone around the country, tourists and locals included, must stop their car or pause to observe one minute of silence.
To contact the reporters on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]
With assistance from Joe Freeman at [email protected]
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JOE FREEMAN