Gov’t Says It Won’t Mark KR Victory

The government has no plans to commemorate the 25th anniv­ersary of the fall of Phnom Penh, a day that saw the Khmer Rouge victorious, the Lon Nol regime defeated and the beginning of the end of more than 1 million Cambodians.

However, the Sam Rainsy Party has organized an independent ceremony to be held at one of the now-infamous “killing fields,” Choeung Ek in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.

In a statement issued Sunday night, Sam Rainsy said the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen was “afraid of drawing attention to the event and is trying to hide the facts of the acts committed by leaders who are still alive and under government protection.”

Khieu Kanharith, spokesman for the government, said on Sunday that there are too many differing opinions about April 17, 1975, to warrant any celebration. Some still consider it victory day, he said, while some others view it as the day their families were destroyed.

“We don’t make any comment on this,” Khieu Kanharith said. “We [the government] consider it to be a normal day, in order to avoid these controversial opinions.”

Twenty-five years ago today, a triumphant Khmer Rouge rolled through the streets of Phnom Penh, declaring victory over the US-backed Lon Nol republican regime, whose government was widely viewed by people as corrupt.

In his statement, Sam Rainsy expressed disbelief that the government would ignore the day that marked Year Zero for the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia.

“It is very strange that CPP leaders who have taken credit for the defeat of the Khmer Rouge and have held many grand parades and ceremonies in the past, refuse to have any public program on this most significant day,” Sam Rainsy said in the statement.

His ceremony will begin at 8 am.



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