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Phnom Penh to up security at festival

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People flock to Phnom Penh’s riverside to watch boat races during Water Festival celebrations in 2014. Prime Minister Hun Sen called on the authorities to beef up security during this year’s festival. Vireak Mai

Phnom Penh to up security at festival

Prime Minister Hun Sen called on the authorities to beef up security to maintain public order during the Water Festival.

Speaking in front of hundreds of children and officials at an event in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, Hun Sen said millions of people from the provinces will flock to the capital during the three-day holiday.

“Please pay more attention to the security and maintenance of public order during the [big festival] which will see millions of people coming from the rural areas to Phnom Penh,” he said.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng predicted over three million people will watch the traditional boat races – the Water Festival’s signature programme.

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Meth Meas Pheakdey said he is “hopeful” that the number of visitors coming to the city this year will be higher than that of last year.

“With the heightened security and increased salary of garment workers, I hope that there will be more people enjoying the festival in the capital this year,” Pheakdey said.

Phnom Penh police chief Sar Theth said mixed forces comprising more than 10,000 officers will be deployed throughout the city to beef up security.

He stressed that the police “is ready” to maintain safety. “We will not allow a situation like the 2010 stampede incident to happen again.”

Meanwhile, the municipal hall on Friday notified booth owners, vendors and event organisers to provide rubbish bins for the disposal of goods from their businesses.

It also called on boat racers and festival-goers to maintain hygiene and cleanliness in public places during the festival.

In a separate statement, the municipal hall announced that a few regulations will be enforced from November 20-24, by which all types of passenger vans, trucks – including concrete mixer trucks and those that transport goods – and motorcycle trailers will not be allowed to enter the capital.

Similarly, construction activities have been instructed to be halted during the same period.

Trucks that travel through National Road 1, the statement said, must be parked at the compound of Niroth pagoda and the parking lot at Chbar Ampov market.

Truck drivers that travel through National Road 2 are advised to park their vehicles at the Chak Angre Krom parking lot and in the compound of Chak Angre Krom secondary school.

The latter is also where passenger vans and motorcycle trailers should be parked while the regulations are in place, apart from the compound of Chak Angre Leu pagoda and along Hun Sen Boulevard.

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