Officials organising the funeral procession for the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk said public order will be priority number one at a planning meeting yesterday.
No obstacles, human or otherwise, should impede the February 1 procession around the capital, which will include 270 national, city and provincial government officials and various ceremonial mourners, said Deputy Prime Minister and Royal Palace Minister Kong Sam Ol, who led the meeting.
“We do not invite normal people to join [the procession], because it makes for disorder, but they can watch the funeral through television or screens we will set up for them,” he said, adding that spectators could also watch the procession in person at a distance.
“To prevent a stampede, we are considering renting 14 big screens so people can watch the procession at sites such as the Olympic Stadium, Koh Pich, Freedom Park, the Chenla Cultural Center, the Phsar Chas garden, the Choam Chao roundabout . . . and other places,” said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said more than 10,000 civilian and military police, bodyguards and CMAC officials, in addition to 72 health officials, would ensure security and safety during the funeral.
Sam Ol said that in the procession, government and court officials, carrying plastic lotuses that will not wilt in the heat, will be joined by 90 oknhas and advisers and 90 white-clad and head-shaven youths, including 10 from the royal family.
The procession will also include traditional Khmer musicians and representatives from Cambodia’s Cham, Chinese and Vietnamese communities.
He added that mourners dressed as wild animals would represent nature’s sorrow for the loss of the King Father.
Selected participants will rehearse twice before the funeral, on January 19 and 26, he said.
The committee is still considering the best time of day to rehearse without disrupting order along the route, which begins at the Royal Palace and passes Wat Phnom and Independence Monument before ending at the crematorium under construction at the National Museum.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mom Kunthear at [email protected]