Sunday, February 3, 2013

Funeral of Sihanouk: Day 3

Riverfront vendors selling Sihanouk posters and photos.

Today, day 3 of King Father Norodom Sihanouk's funeral, was much like yesterday. The official proceedings, even as stated in the official program, were the "same as Day 2." The Royal Palace park and the road immediately in front of Veal Preah Meru (Sothearos Blvd) remained closed. The King and Queen Mother attended religious ceremonies at the crematorium in the early evening and people crowded at two of the gates (primarily the north gate) to offer respects and try to get a glimpse.

Getting access to the area continued to be a tedious process today due to the many street barricades and restricted access to some areas. Enforcement was still uneven though the police seem to be stricter about enforcing the rules today. Like yesterday, people are still grumbling about the lack of access to the area. Scenes of people trying to talk their way past the police barricade are common, and most often unsuccessful. Nevertheless the crowds are generally respecting the cordon and behaving in an orderly fashion.

Crowds in the Palace area and riverfront area were moderate during the day and increased in size dramatically in the evening, again many people gathering opposite the Palace in the evening to watch the proceedings within Veal Preah Meru on the giant TV mounted on the Palace face. During the day, the shrines at the Preah Ong Dong Ar Temple opposite the Palace on Sisowath Quay were quite busy with people making offerings. The sight of the Royal Barge docked on the river next to the temple also seemed to attract considerable attention.

The following are a couple of shaky iPad videos, which, though not of very good quality, might give some feel for the scene and atmosphere in the Royal Palace area this evening. 

Scene on Street 178 at the north gate of Veal Preah Meru this evening at about 6:10PM.

Scene on Sisowath Quay in front of the Royal Palace this evening at about 7:00PM.

Riverfront park, late afternoon.

Trying to get a glimpse, or just as close as possible, at the north gate of Veal Preah Meru

Barge docked next to Preah Ong Dong Ar Temple, presumably the Royal Barge that will transport the ashes of King Father Sihanouk to the Tonle Chaktomuk (the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers) on Day 5.

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