One million prepare to mourn Cambodia's former king
PHNOM PENH (AFP) - The lavish funeral of Cambodia's revered former king Norodom Sihanouk will begin on Friday, with officials expecting more than a million mourners to throng Phnom Penh's streets.
The body of the late monarch, who died of a heart attack in Beijing in October, aged 89, will be paraded through the city atop a golden float shaped like a mythological bird, from the Royal Palace to an ornate, custom-built crematorium in a city park.
Authorities have erected towering portraits of Sihanouk, repaired crumbling kerbs along the procession route and established road blocks around the palace and park, where the cremation will be held on Monday, away from public view.
Friday's ceremony is due to begin at 0000 GMT (8am Singapore time) and will include a 101-gun salute and the procession, giving crowds the chance to bid a final farewell to their colourful king, who was placed on the throne by the French at the age of just 18 but developed into a canny political survivor.