Cambodia marks 64 years of independence

Balloons - along with doves - were released at the Independence Monument during a ceremony marking Cambodia's independence day in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Balloons - along with doves - were released at the Independence Monument during a ceremony marking Cambodia's independence day in Phnom Penh yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PHNOM PENH • Cambodians yesterday marked the 64th anniversary of the country's independence from France by releasing doves and balloons into the sky at the Independence Monument in the capital Phnom Penh.

Late king Norodom Sihanouk declared Cambodia's independence from France in 1953 after seizing power a year earlier in a bloodless coup, but maintained good relations with the European nation.

Yesterday's independence ceremony was attended by current King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for more than 30 years, as well as thousands of schoolchildren, civil servants and foreign diplomats.

Cambodia was under French rule for almost a century before its 1953 independence.

Mr Hun Sen, in a Facebook post, credited king Norodom Sihanouk with devoting his life to fight for Cambodia's independence.

"Nov 9 is the day that brought independence, territorial integrity, peace and development," he wrote.

Mr Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party has cracked down on the opposition in recent months in the lead-up to an election next year.

His government has asked the Supreme Court to dissolve the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party and a court ruling is expected to decide on the matter next week.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2017, with the headline 'Cambodia marks 64 years of independence'. Print Edition | Subscribe