Sam Rainsy Party officials said Friday that they will remove a memorial stupa across from the National Assembly, if King Norodom Sihanouk wants them to.
Representatives of the opposition party and the Royal Palace met Friday to discuss the controversy surrounding the 1997 grenade attack memorial, but no decisions were made. At a press conference Friday evening, party officials said they expected the King to make a statement soon.
“If the King suggests [we remove the stupa], we will follow him,” said Sam Sundoeun, a Sam Rainsy lawmaker. “We and the victims’ families will apologize to the spirits of the dead people that we could not keep the stupa here because we respect the King.”
But Sam Sundoeun also made an appeal to the King: “The King is also a Buddhist, so I think he will respect the victims.”
Prince Norodom Sirivudh, an adviser to the King, confirmed the meeting took place but declined to comment about the details. Palace officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The King was not at the meeting.
Three stupas have been destroyed since the seven-week standoff began. On Wednesday, military police threw a stupa into the Tonle Sap river and scuffled with opposition parliamentarians while dismantling another.
Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara had no comment Friday evening on whether the government would wait until the King’s response. “Now I do not order my people to remove the stupa, but I will do so in the near future,” he said.
But he said Sam Rainsy should apologize to the people because the stupa is near the street and has been disrupting public order. “I am busy providing security to the people.”