Local journalists group Deum Ampil, or Tamarind Tree, is organizing a ceremony in Kompong Chhnang province’s Krang Leav village this Saturday to commemorate the uprising against the French colonial authorities in the Bardez incident of 1925, the group announced Wednesday.
Well-known CTN journalist and Deum Ampil member Soy Sopheap said that through the ceremony the group wants to remind Cambodians about this historical event. They also hope to raise about $25,000 to fund the construction of a monument to honor the leaders of the uprising against the French, he said.
More than 100 journalists and their families will attend a Buddhist ceremony at Krang Leav Pagoda, he said, adding that Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith and Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema had also been invited.
On April 18, 1925, French official Felix Louis Bardez arrived in Krang Leav with a Cambodian military escort to collect additional taxes from villagers, who were already suffering from food shortages.
Bardez had delinquent taxpayers brought to the village hall and then handcuffed them and threatened to take them to prison, despite the fact that there were no fines due for three months.
When Bardez refused to let prisoners have lunch while he was eating, a large crowd of people looking on lost their patience and beat Bardez to death.
In response, French colonial administrators had more than 300 local men, women and children jailed and the village destroyed. They also sentenced one man to death and five others got life imprisonment.
Since 2004 Deum Ampil has been holding a ceremony during Pchum Ben, the annual festival of the dead that started Monday, to remember historical figures and events in Cambodia.
Soy Sopheap said the Bardez uprising is well known but no official commemoration ceremony had ever been held in Krang Leav.
He also noted the group had chosen to build a memorial at the site, as there is already a stupa to remember Bardez but nothing to honor the Cambodians that resisted French colonial rule.