SRP Youth Trash Collectors Defy Police Order

More than 40 police officers surrounded the Sam Rainsy Party head­quarters in Battambang town Tuesday morning in an attempt to stop some 200 SRP youth members from conducting a litter collection campaign.

Battambang District Governor Uy Ry said by telephone that he de­ployed the large force of officers as the litter collection was “inappropriate” and the town did not need young people taking part in such an event.

“[Battambang municipality] cleans litter every day. If they in­tend­ed to collect litter they should not wear T-shirts and hats with the SRP logo,” Uy Ry said.

“It is not important work. It would cause disorder and social chaos,” he added.

Uy Ry also issued a directive on Monday stating that the SRP Youth Movement’s anti-litter campaign in the town’s market area was not necessary.

“Their real purpose is for the election campaign,” Uy Ry added by telephone.

SRP deputy councilor for Bat­tambang Sor Chandeth said he ig­nored the police officers and led the 200 youths on a four-hour town clean­up during which half a ton of rubbish was collected.

“We explained to police that we weren’t holding a demonstration. They wanted to disburse us but I led the group past the police,” Sor Chandeth said.

The police followed the litter collectors in two trucks, he added.

Eng Chhay Eang, SRP secretary-general and lawmaker for Battambang, said local authorities didn’t understand the concept of civ­ic duty.

“The police don’t understand the value of social work,” he said.

Uy Ry also said Tuesday that the young trash collectors had brok­­en the law.

“Police told them not to do it but they did not listen and they continued [to collect litter],” he said.

“They didn’t comply with the law,” he added.

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