Union Appeals for Funds for Chea Vichea Statue

The Free Trade Union (FTU) is ap­pealing for donations toward the construction of a statue of its slain leader Chea Vichea and expects the statue to be completed in Oct­ober, FTU President Chea Mony said on Friday.

Chea Vichea, FTU’s outspoken for­mer president, was gunned down in broad daylight near Wat Langka in January 2004.

Two men were convicted for the mur­der but were widely considered scapegoats and have since been released on bail pending the results of a reinvestigation.

The FTU had been lobbying for a statue of Chea Vichea for eight years when Prime Minister Hun Sen finally approved the project in January, just months before this year’s commune elections.

Mr. Mony, who is also Chea Vi­ch­ea’s brother, said the statue will be made out of blue mudstone from Preah Vihear province, and it is currently being sculpted in Siem Reap. It will stand at 1.68 meters on top of a platform, which will show supporters rallying around him. When completed, the sculpture will be erec­ted near Wat Langka and the Independence Monument, close to the spot where he was killed.

“We told the sculptor to sculpt Chea Vichea as a standing statue, with his left hand holding a microphone and his right hand held up in front to represent his activity with the workers’ movement,” Mr. Mo­ny said, adding that City Hall has contributed $5,000 to it.

Mann Senghak, adviser to the FTU, estimated that the total cost of the statue’s construction would be about $8,000.

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