News / Asia

Thousands Attend Cremation of Former Cambodian King

Cambodians pray near the cremation of former King Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, February 4, 2013. (R. Carmichael/VOA)
Cambodians pray near the cremation of former King Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, February 4, 2013. (R. Carmichael/VOA)
VOA News
Tens of thousands of mourners gathered in Cambodia's capital Monday for the cremation of former king Norodom Sihanouk, a much revered figure widely seen as the father of Cambodia’s independence.

The former monarch's embalmed body had been lying in state since he died of heart failure at the age of 89 in Beijing on October 15.

After sunset, Sihanouk's widow Queen Monineath and his son, King Norodom Sihamoni, wept as they lit a pyre inside a temple-like crematorium built just for the occasion at a site near the Royal Palace.

  • Fireworks explode over the Tonle Sap River for the cremation of Cambodia's former King Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, February 4, 2013.
  • Cambodian Queen Monique receives condolences at the crematorium site of her husband, the late King Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, February 4, 2013.
  • Cambodians pray near the cremation of former King Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, February 4, 2013. (R. Carmichael/VOA)
  • The coffin carrying the late former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk in a funeral procession leaves the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, February 1, 2013.
  • Mourners pay their respects to the late former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk in a funeral procession in Phnom Penh, February 1, 2013.
  • Cambodian Army soldiers practice how to fire artillery launchers in front of Royal Palace ahead of the funeral for former King Norodom Sihanouk January 31, 2013, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
  • A woman mourns the late former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk in a funeral procession in Phnom Penh.
  • A mourner offers prayers to the late Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk ahead of Sihanouk's funeral.
  • Buddhist monks offer prayers to Cambodian late King Norodom Sihanouk ahead of his cremation in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Artillery salutes and fireworks shook the crowds that gathered on the streets of Phnom Penh. After the cremation, Sihamoni handed out gifts to some 400 prisoners freed in an amnesty as part of the mourning period for his father.

Official guests included French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Japan's Prince Akishino and several Southeast Asian leaders, who bowed in respect in front of the gilded casket.

The elaborate, mainly Buddhist funeral proceedings began last week.  An urn containing Sihanouk's ashes will be placed inside the palace grounds.

Norodom Sihanouk secured Cambodia's independence from former colonial power France in 1953 but was unable to prevent his country from being dragged into the Vietnam War.

He ruled both as monarch and head of state until ousted in a U.S.-backed coup in 1970.

A charismatic figure, King Sihanouk later made an ill-fated alliance with the Khmer Rouge, who would hold him and his wife prisoner in his palace during their brutal ultra-Maoist rule. Five of his children died during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge reign of terror.

As peace returned to Cambodia following a U.N.-brokered shift to a fragile democracy, Sihanouk retook the throne in 1993, but his power and influence had decreased significantly.

In 2004, he stepped down for a second time, frustrated at the limitations of being a constitutional monarch. King Sihanouk spent his final years in China, where he was treated for a number of ailments.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs