CNRP Marks Anniversary of Factional Fighting

The opposition CNRP marked the 20th anniversary of the factional fighting that saw Prime Minister Hun Sen consolidate his power over the country with a modest ceremony at the party’s Phnom Penh headquarters on Thursday.

About 80 party officials gathered for a traditional Buddhist blessing for the souls of the hundreds of people believed to have died when military forces loyal to Mr. Hun Sen, then second prime minister, and First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh squared off in the capital on July 5 and 6, 1997.

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CPP forces walk down Russian Federation Boulevard near the Royal University of Phnom Penh on July 6, 1997. (Saing Soenthrith/The Cambodia Daily)

Mr. Hun Sen’s forces prevailed over what they described as a power grab by the prince.

CNRP Vice President Mu Sochua, suggesting an independent investigation into the deaths with the U.N.’s help, said: “What we need the most is justice.”

However, Lu Lay Sreng, the government’s commerce secretary of state at the time of the fighting and a member of Prince Ranariddh’s defeated Funcinpec party, said he did not expect any.

“I wish to pay homage to the souls of the friends of mine who died; I cannot forget them,” he said.

Mr. Hun Sen’s ruling CPP did not commemorate the anniversary.

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