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Boat racing kicks off

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Boat racers take part in the Water Festival in the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh today. Chor Sokunthea

The first day of the three-day Water Festival kicked off today in Phnom Penh where tens of thousands of revelers converged on the Tonle Sap riverbank and in front of the Royal Palace to watch boat racing.

In his speech to celebrate the Water Festival today, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged the people to enjoy watching boat racing and music performances.

“Our Kingdom’s peace is prevailing. That’s why we are able to celebrate this major annual festival,” Mr Hun Sen said. “If there is no peace, then there will be no Water Festival today.”

Security has been beefed up as municipal police restrict traffic flow on a dozen of major streets leading to the riverside where boat racing takes place.

“Please, authorities at all levels, pay high attention to maintaining security and good public order for our people and tourists,” Mr Hun Sen said.

Bun Veasna, secretary at the National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals, said that more than 300 racing boats take part in the festival.

This afternoon, King Norodom Sihamoni along with Mr Hun Sen, Senate president Say Chhum, National Assembly president Heng Samrin and other dignitaries are due to watch boat races from a stage erected on the riverbank in front of the Royal Palace and illuminated floats.

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