Feb. 5 - Members of Cambodia's royal family scatter ashes of the late King Norodom Sihanouk on a river in front of the Royal Palace. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Members of Cambodia's royal family attended a procession on Tuesday (January 5) ahead of the scattering of some of the ashes of the late king on the Chaktomuk river. Supreme monks and royal palace ministers also took part in the procession. The ceremony would traditionally have taken place on the sixth day after the start of the monarch's funeral but was brought forward a day. The remaining ashes of the king will be placed in a gold urn, the ceremony for which will now take place on Wednesday (February 6). Former king Norodom Sihanouk was cremated on February 4. Sihanouk helped win independence from Cambodia's French colonial rulers but was later unable to stop his country being dragged into the Vietnam War despite his political wheeling and dealing that critics say precipitated a slide into chaos and the Khmer Rouge "killing fields" revolution. He abdicated in 1955, ostensibly to strengthen his political influence, and became increasingly authoritarian to preserve that power. After his ousting in a U.S.-backed coup in 1970, Sihanouk made an ill-fated pact with Pol Pot, becoming a prisoner in his palace and losing five children and 14 grandchildren during the group's 1975-1979 ultra-Maoist rule. As peace returned to Cambodia following a U.N.-brokered shift to a fragile democracy, Sihanouk retook the throne in 1993, but discovered his power and influence had waned significantly. After 11 years he abdicated again and lived for much of his time in China, where he spent his last days.