Cambodians mourn former king in funeral procession
PHNOM PENH (AP) - Thousands of mourners accompanied a gilded chariot carrying the body of former King Norodom Sihanouk - the dominant figure of modern Cambodia - in a funeral procession Friday to a cremation ground next to the palace where he was crowned more than 70 years ago.
His body had been lying in state at the Royal Palace after being flown from Beijing where he died Oct 15 of a heart attack at the age of 89. The cremation, the climax of seven days of mourning, will take place Monday.
Many wept as the kilometre-long procession slowly proceeded, watched by more than half a million people, according to a preliminary estimate by city spokesman Long Dimanche.
Reflecting the respect Sihanouk still commands in Cambodia, especially among the older generation, most knelt and clasped their hands in prayer as the cortege passed while Buddhist monks chanted.