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Water Festival road restrictions announced

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Phnom Penh municipal police will restrict traffic on 11 major junctions next week to accommodate the celebrations for the Water Festival.

Water Festival road restrictions announced

Phnom Penh municipal police will restrict traffic on 11 major junctions next week to accommodate the celebrations for the Water Festival, Phnom Penh municipal police announced last Saturday.

The decision was made as the city braces for an influx of revellers ahead of the event on November 9-12.

Remorques (traditional tuk-tuks), motorcycles and heavy lorries will be barred from Street 51 (Rue Pasteur) and entering through the following junctions – Street 294 and Norodom Boulevard; Suramarit Blvd and the Naga Fountain; Street 240 and Sisowath Quay; Street 240, Sothearos Blvd and Street 51; Street 222 and Street 51.

The following junctions will be entirely closed to incoming traffic – Botum Pagoda grounds and Street 13; Street 222 and Rue Pasteur; Street 184 and Norodom Blvd; Street 240 and Norodom Blvd; Sisowath Quay and Norodom Blvd; Botum Pagoda grounds; Street 19 and Street 184.

“Take note and follow the instructions to assist the authorities in carrying out their duties, especially concerning traffic congestion so that pedestrians can enjoy the Water Festival,” the announcement said.

Phnom Penh municipal police chief Sar Thet said: “Some streets will be closed during day time and some permanently during the evening until the conclusion of the Water Festival. Only pedestrians will be able to enter closed roads, while motorbikes and cars will not be allowed.

“Although there will be a lot of forces on the streets, please don’t be afraid when you visit for the Water Festival. Please obey the law. If you see any suspicious groups or signs, please report them to the authorities at any of the locations immediately.”

Some 9,000 police officials will be deployed to more than 900 locations around Phnom Penh to maintain order and security, he said.

Some 4.5 million people visited Phnom Penh for the Water Festival last year, clogging areas surrounding the Royal Palace and Riverside. Authorities urged motorists to take note of the notice and assist them in controlling road congestion.

This year, the festivities have a distinctly political tone. Prime Minister Hun Sen has asked Cambodians to commemorate the bravery of Cambodians who liberated the Kingdom from the Khmer Rouge, while encouraging people to celebrate Independence Day on November 9 by eating ork ambok – an already popular snack during the festival – in solidarity with the government.

The Water Festival, which is celebrated over three days each November, marks the reversal of the Tonle Sap’s flow at the end of the rainy season.

National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals deputy permanent chair Chhin Ketna declined to provide The Post with a comment, claiming he was too busy.

Those anxious to get a head start on the celebrations will have a chance to observe a trial run on Friday at 1pm at Riverside Park near the statues of Techo Yort and Techo Meas on horseback near the Royal Palace.

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