|Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (C) speaks during |
Independence Day celebrations in Phnom Penh
November 9, 2013. Cambodia celebrated its 60th
anniversary of independence from France
on November 9. REUTERS/Samrang Pring
PHNOM PENH, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia celebrated the 60th anniversary of the declaration of the Independence Day from French protectorate on Saturday with a call for national unity for the country's peace and development.
The celebration was held under the auspices of the nation's King Norodom Sihamoni and was attended by National Assembly's President Heng Samrin, Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Senate's 1st Vice-President Say Chhum, as well as senior officials, diplomatic corps, armed forces and students, totaling around 20,000 people.
At the event at the Independence Monument, the King laid a wreath and lit the victory torch inside the Independence Monument. The victory flame will be kept burning for three days.
Then, the King, along with other leaders and dignitaries, proceeded to the nearby Royal Palace, where the main celebratory ceremony was held with a live broadcast on all local TV channels.
The Southeast Asian nation gained full independence and freedom from the French protectorate on Nov. 9, 1953 after it had ruled by France for 90 years.
"The celebration today is to express deep gratitude to the country's late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who had conducted a royal crusade to demand independence from French protectorate," King Sihamoni said in a speech.
"On this occasion, I would like to call on all Cambodian people to be united under the roof of the constitution and state laws in order to contribute to defending and building the nation in all domains, particularly economy, as the country has full peace and political stability."
The country has been in political dispute since the July's election results showed that the Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party won the victory, but the opposition party refused to accept the outcomes and has been boycotting the ruling party-formed parliament.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said the Cambodian people have never forgotten the greatly physical and mental sacrifice of late King Father Norodom Sihanouk for the cause of national independence, territorial integrity, happiness and development.
"We have never forgotten his sacrifice for the country's independence and his royal crusade was inscribed in the historical page of Cambodia forever," he said.
Chhin Ketana, secretary general of the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals, said there would be fireworks over Tonle Sap River in front of the Royal Palace in the evenings of Saturday and Monday to celebrate the event.