Protesters Ask for Justice in Political Killings

More than 100 people representing 40 NGOs marched Sunday to demand a non-violent election and to protest the recent killings of three female political hopefuls.

Nanda Pok, executive director of Women for Prosperity and a leader of the march, said the demonstrators want justice soon.

“We want the killing to stop and the killers to be arrested and tried,” she said, adding that it is important that police arrest those guilty before the election.

“If they are not arrested quickly, it will affect women candidates” who have not run for election before, she said. And if the candidates are afraid, the election will not be free or fair, she said.

Lim Mony, head of the women’s group at the human rights organization Adhoc, said the march was a reminder to the government to adhere to the principles of nonviolence.

“We hope that after this, the government will pay attention to women, and will [take steps] to see that violence doesn’t occur,” she said.

The marchers assembled at Wat Phnom included Buddhist nuns, students and activists. They walked around Wat Phnom and observed a three-minute period of silence to support non-violence toward women.

Government officials have said the three women, gunned down on successive days, were victims of robbery.

But activists say many female candidates and voters fear they were deliberately killed by political foes.

Nanda Pok said that only the courts can determine who killed the women and why.

All commune leadership positions are currently held by members of the CPP. The CPP, along with Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party, is fielding slates in most of the country’s 1,621 communes. None of the dozen or so candidates killed in recent months have been CPP members.

(Ad­ditional reporting by The Associated Press)

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