The "Festival of the Dead" is one of the two most important dates on the Khmer calendar - and for the ceremony celebrating the day (October 8) in Phnom Penh, the first public gathering in several months of the country's leading political and military leaders.
SV Crowd watch open-air theatre (2 shots)
GV Chamcar Mon Palace
SCU Prime Minister Son Ngoc Thanh (glasses) walks forward and greets group including Sirik Matak and Major-General Sostain Fernandez
CU Siri Matak
SCU ZOOM OUT.. Thanh talks to group and turns to Major General Fernandez
CU General Fernandez talking
SCU PAN..Lon Nol and wife up steps of Palace
Initials ES. 1750 ES. 1805
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Background: The "Festival of the Dead" is one of the two most important dates on the Khmer calendar - and for the ceremony celebrating the day (October 8) in Phnom Penh, the first public gathering in several months of the country's leading political and military leaders.
With President Lon Nol at the Chamcar Mon Presidential Palace, was seen Prime Minister Son Ngoc Thanh (pron: son nok tran), who is expected to retain a position of power - possibly still Prime Minister - in the new Government to be announced by the President shortly. Also present, former Prince Sirik Matak (pron: si-ree mah-tuk), who may return to public life as Vice President - a post not yet filled by President Lon Nol; and Major-General Sostain Fernandez, who is tipped as the new head of the Armed Forces, with sweeping military powers.
The ceremony came shortly after the worst Communist attack on Phnom Penh since the country entered the Indochina War in March 1970. It was also two days before the second anniversary of the Khmer Republic.
SYNOPSIS: The people of Phnom Penh attending celebrations of the "Festival of the Dead" - one of the two most important dates of the Khmer calendar, celebrated throughout the country on October the eighth.
The traditional festivities came only a few hours after the worst Communist attack since March 1970, when the country entered the Indochina war.
The Festival was also celebrated at Chamcar Mon Presidential Palace - where the event brought together in public the Khmer Republic's top military and political leaders for the first time in several months.
Former Prince Sirik Matak, tipped as the possible next Vice President. Prime Minister Son Ngoc Thanh - whose future is uncertain, but expected to retain a strong position of power in any new Government, possibly remaining as Prime Minister. Major General Sostain Fernandez, who is likely to head the Armed Forces - with sweeping military powers. They were joined by President and Madame Lon Nol to celebrate the important festival, and to show a united front to the dissident political factions of the country.