The Siem Reap provincial administration observed Remembrance Day a day in advance of the traditional May 20 date.

The event, held to commemorate those who died under the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, took place on the grounds of Pothivong Pagoda in Kokchak district, Siem Reap town.

The celebration was held to preserve memories of the terrible tragedy that befell the nation and to remember millions of Cambodians who lost their lives in the most tragic and unjust ways through the genocidal policies of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, explained the provincial administration.

Ean Khun, chairman of the provincial council, recalled the history of the Khmer Rouge years, recounting how for nearly four years, the entire Cambodian population lived in a bitter, wall-less prison.

He said people lost the chance to grow the nation and suffered all kinds of tortures, which was the greatest tragedy for humanity and society as a whole. They were forced to live like animals and were separated from their families. In addition, more than three million people were brutally massacred or died of starvation.

“Having witnessed the cruelty of the authoritarian regime, on December 2, 1978 the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation was formed under the leadership of the late Chea Sim and current Prime Minister Hun Sen, with Heng Samrin as the head. The three men assembled a large number of patriotic forces and risked their lives to overthrow the murderous Khmer Rouge, finally achieving victory on January 7, 1979,” he explained.

“Their victory saved the nation and its people from total destruction. Even after their survival was guaranteed, society had to be rebuilt entirely from scratch,” he concluded.