Rainsy Rebuffed as City Draws Line in the Park

Despite a threat from authorities not to proceed, Sam Rainsy on Sunday vowed to carry on with a ceremony marking the one year anniversary of the deadly March 30 grenade attack. 

Chea Sophara, first deputy governor of Phnom Penh, drew a line in the park Sunday vowing “to take action” if Sam Rainsy holds a memorial on the site of the deadly attack which killed at least 17 and injured more than 150.

“I am not allowing Sam Rainsy to stage a memorial in front of the National Assembly. Absolutely not,” Chea Sophara said, adding he could only guarantee security if they stayed in Wat Botum.

Sam Rainsy, despite the warning, vowed to carry on with the ceremony in the park in front of the National Assembly from 8 am to 9 am. After 9 am the ceremony is scheduled to proceed to Wat Botum for a religious ceremony directly across from the wat.

“Apparently they want to deter us,” said Sam Rainsy, the president of the Sam Rainsy Party and likely target of last year’s attack. “But they know anything that will happen will be bad publicity for them.”

One year ago at 8:23 am, attackers threw four grenades at a peaceful rally, beginning a year of political violence in Cambodia.

(Additional reporting by Saing Soenthrith and Lor Chandara)

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