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Cambodia observes 66th Independence Day

HISTORY

This national holiday is celebrated on 9th November each year.

If 9 November falls on a Sunday, the following working day will be a holiday.

The holiday was established to celebrate the anniversary of Cambodia’s independence from France on 9 November 1953 and is Cambodia’s national holiday.

The region of Cambodia became an area of in?uence under the rule of the Angkorian era from the 8th century. By the 15 century, the in?uence of the Khmers waned and the kingdom was subject to control by the Spanish and Portuguese.

With the arrival of the French in 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate of France and a virtual colony by the twentieth century. In 1941, the French installed Prince Sihanouk on the Cambodian throne. Having sensed that the French in?uence was affected by World War II, with the support of the Japanese, Sihanouk declared independence from France in March 1945.

Following the defeat of Japan, France regained control of the region, but the move had sparked a desire for independence. By July 1953, France had stated that it was ready to grant full independence to Cambodia and on 9 November 1953, full independence was achieved.

King Norodom Sihanouk went on to rule Cambodia for the next 15 years before he was overthrown by a military coup.

Thousands of Cambodians today (Nov. 9) celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Kingdom’s liberating itself from French colonial rule. Of?cials, dignitaries, members of the various armed forces, students, everyday citizens – they gathered at the Independence Monument; they lined the streets to see the cars of the King and the PM drive by; they congregated in the Royal Palace Park to hear the speeches made from the Chanchhaya Pavilion (aka the Moonlight Pavilion); they let ?y balloons and were of good cheer.

King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the torch-lighting ceremony at the Independence Members of foreign diplomatic corps, civil servants, citizens and students were also in attendance.

After torch-lighting ceremony, the King and Hun Sen were driven to the Royal Palace, where they addressed the crowd from the balcony of the “Moonlight Pavilion.” King Sihamoni summoned to mind his father’s achievement of freeing Cambodia from France, allowing it to enjoy sovereignty, political stability and national security.

He thanked Hun Sen for bringing peace, progress, and happiness to the Cambodian people, and asked the people to keep the peace and stay united. “Sam-dech Hun Sen is a smart leader whose policies keep peace, solidarity, unity and prestige … and I commend the forces that build and defend our country.”

Students line the streets to catch a glimpse of the King. KTChor Sokunthea

After the King’s speech, the Prime Minister spoke to the throng. He expressed his gratitude to the King Father for his efforts on behalf of his subjects, and he committed himself to maintaining peace in, and the independence of, Cambodia.

He explained that the government will not tolerate a colour revolution and/or foreign interference in internal affairs. It will also crack down on money laundering, the ?nancing of terrorism, transnational crimes, corruption, and human traf?cking.