The Sam Rainsy Party has raised $2,000 of its $3,000 goal for the ninth anniversary of the 1997 grenade attack on a peaceful demonstration in Phnom Penh, which will be observed March 30, officials said Monday.
The majority of the money will be given to victims of the attack, which left more than a dozen people dead and over 100 injured, said opposition lawmaker Yim Sovann.
Victims attending the ceremony outside the National Assembly, near where the attack took place, will receive between $50 and $100 per family, depending on their needs and the severity of their injuries, Yim Sovann said. He added that most of the money has been garnered from Cambodians living overseas.
Opposition acting Secretary-General Meng Ritta said the opposition provides three wheelchair-bound victims with a $20 monthly stipend.
Sam Rainsy returned to Cambodia last month after expressing regret to Prime Minister Hun Sen for linking him to the grenade attack.
My Neary, who lost her son Chet Doung Dararith in the attack, said she supported Sam Rainsy’s move to reconcile with the prime minister.
“My son’s death can be set aside for now, for the sake of the nation,” she said. “I support [Sam Rainsy’s] policy for the country’s stability.”
But not all victims said they were happy with Sam Rainsy’s reversal.
Chan Mony, a journalist who lost his left eye in the attack, said he believes the government could find the perpetrators if it had the will, though he declined to say who he believes masterminded the attack.
“If the government paid attention to it, they could find the attackers,” he said.
Sam Rainsy said now is not the right time to be seeking justice.
“Sometimes you have to make a detour in order to achieve the goal,” he said. “In order to render justice for the victims, you must have an independent judiciary, and in order to have an independent judiciary, you must have a democratic regime.”