Four opposition lawmakers want the Interior Ministry to sanction Phnom Penh municipal authorities for failing to protect property and prevent other illegal activities during April 30 demonstrations organized by the Sam Rainsy Party.
In a complaint sent Friday to the Ministry of Interior, lawmakers Ou Bun Long, Meng Rita, Yim Sovann and Sith Ybrahim claim municipal officials are responsible for allowing anti-Sam Rainsy activists to vandalize his home in Phnom Penh.
The vandals broke windows, burned tires and daubed graffiti on Sam Rainsy’s walls. Witnesses said the same group then destroyed a commemorative stupa in front of the National Assembly which honored the victims of the 1997 grenade attack.
Both attacks took place while Sam Rainsy led several hundred protesters on a demonstration march across town.
According to the complaint, municipal authorities failed to stop the vandals, did nothing about threats to kill Battambang opposition lawmaker Cheam Channy and did not prevent harassment of Sam Rainsy’s lawful demonstration.
“The undersigned members of parliament and senators demand that the Ministry of Interior take sanctions against the responsible officials who did not prevent all these acts of violence and stop the thugs’ illegal activities,” the document states.
The lawmakers also warned that a failure by the Interior Ministry to take measures against the municipality will be interpreted as official collusion between CPP “masterminds” attempting to sabotage the Sam Rainsy Party.
Yim Sovann claimed Sunday that police and military police stood idly by as protesters destroyed the stupa and damaged the party leader’s residence. They appeared to be under orders not to intervene, he said.
Chan Sokunthea, advisor to Governor of Phnom Penh Chea Sophara, said Sunday that a copy of the complaint arrived at municipal hall late Friday evening.
“We are very surprised to hear this complaint…. We took all measures with the police to stop this [incident]…. We did everything,” said Chan Sokunthea.
He said the municipality has already filed a report with the Interior Ministry.