A group of university students clashed briefly with opposition supporters at an event hosted by beleaguered CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha at the party’s headquarters in Kompong Thom province on Friday, officials said.
The student group, led by 24-year-old Srey Chamroeun, materialized around the time the government began investigating Mr. Sokha over his alleged affair with a young hairdresser, frequently haranguing the deputy opposition leader and accusing him of crimes ranging from corruption to murder.
During a ceremony in Stung Sen City to announce CNRP lawmaker Ke Sovannaroth as the party’s new provincial leader, Mr. Chamroeun and about 30 followers attempted to confront Mr. Sokha but were blocked by opposition supporters.
“There was a small confrontation this morning between the CNRP youth and supporters and a group of students who demanded to meet Kem Sokha, but it resulted in no injuries,” said city governor Hok Rin, a member of the ruling CPP.
“Those students were trying to talk to Kem Sokha, but the CNRP youth and leaders tried to prevent them with characteristic use of violence against those students,” he said, adding that police and military police had intervened to pacify the situation.
CNRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann, who attended the event, also described the clash as minor, but said the party’s supporters did not use violence.
“The group that claims to be university students is always dogging us in order to cause problems everywhere we go,” he said. “But we have tried our best to stay patient to avoid any violence from occurring.”
Mr. Chamroeun, who insists that he is not affiliated with the CPP and refuses to say what university he attends, said five of his followers were injured during the clash and pledged to continue harassing Mr. Sokha until he explained his alleged indiscretions.
“Obviously, the facts have been revealed because the ACU [Anti-Corruption Unit] already examined the audio recordings, while the court has also summoned him for questioning,” he said, referring to leaked recordings of private telephone conversations purportedly between Mr. Sokha and 25-year-old hairdresser Khom Chandaraty.