Lawmakers File Complaint On Stupa Scuffle

Three opposition parliamentarians have lodged a formal complaint with the National Assembly against military police officers they claim assaulted them during the destruction of a commemorative stupa last Wednesday.

Lawmakers Sam Sundoeun, Cheam Channy and Sith Ybra­him claim in the letter to National Assembly President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh that Pong Sava­rith, municipal military police chief of staff, and a number of his men should be punished for their heavy handedness during the removal of the stupa honoring 1997 grenade attack victims.

The lawmakers claimed military police shoved, kicked and roughed them up as they tried to prevent the stupa’s destruction.

Sim Hong, municipal military po­lice deputy commander, on Sunday denied that his men used excessive force against the three lawmakers. He said all his officers did was lift one of the lawmakers off the stupa so they could remove it.

Three stupas erected across from the National Assembly have been destroyed during the seven-week standoff between the municipality and Sam Rainsy Par­ty members.

According to municipal officials, permission was never granted for the stupa’s construction. Opposition party members and relatives of those who died in the grenade attack say they should not need permission to erect the monument at the site of the attack, which killed at least 16.

Sam Rainsy and relatives of eight grenade attack victims have pe­titioned King Norodom Sihan­ouk to allow the stupa to remain. On Sunday, Phnom Penh Gov­ern­or Chea Sophara said he would abide by the King’s decision. But he said he felt the mon­arch would not agree to keeping the stupa on the sidewalk in front of the National Assembly.

Drawing several hundred people during a rally at the site Sun­day, Sam Rainsy made a scathing attack on the government—charging it with corruption, extrajudicial killings and selling assets to foreign businesses.

“The common point is impunity,” Sam Rainsy said. “The Na­tional Assembly is not playing its role to ensure law and order and social justice. It’s complete anarchy.”

His statements come just days before major donors meet in Paris to pledge another aid package to Cambodia.





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