Vandal Says Sam Rainsy Needs A Lesson

An ousted Sam Rainsy Party chief said Wednesday that he and other disgruntled former par­ty members threw rocks at the opposition party leader’s house and destroyed a memorial stupa last week to teach their old boss a lesson.

“If Sam Rainsy does not want re­conciliation, we cannot allow him to stay in comfort,” said Ne­ang Sean, who served as the par­ty’s chief in Kompong Cham be­fore being removed last year amid allegations that he was align­ed with the CPP. He and oth­er former members say their dis­missals were unjust.

While Sam Rainsy led a march against government corruption on Ap­ril 30, a group of people burned tires in front of his home and pelted the windows with rocks. They also smashed a mem­orial stupa in front of the National Assembly, erected in late March to honor the victims of the 1997 grenade attack at a Sam Rainsy rally.

“We destroyed the stupa …because Sam Rainsy made it for political reasons” and not to honor the dead, said Neang Sean, flanked by Loa Rachna and Chan Samnang at a press conference in the Monorom Hotel on Monivong Boulevard. He said a much larger monument should be built for the victims.

Sam Rainsy’s cabinet chief, Phi Thach, said Wednesday that all three were once Sam Rainsy Par­ty members, but have been kicked out of the party. He said Chan Samnang and Neang Sean are named in a complaint filed with the municipality last week by Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, but Loa Rachna is not. Former party mem­ber Pen Vano was named in the complaint, but has denied involvement in the April 30 vandalism.

Phi Thach said the memorial stupa will be rebuilt when enough money is raised. There is now a donation box in front of the ru­ined memorial, being guarded by an party member. “We hope it will be finished soon,” Phi Thach said.

He said the vandalism of the stupa and Sam Rainsy’s house was an act of revenge against the party’s steering committee, which voted to boot several people from the party last year for al­legedly breaking party rules.

Several of the dismissed members came to the party’s congress in February, but were denied en­trance for most of the day.

“They kicked us out of the par­ty without any reason,” Neang Sean said. “We did [the vandalism] as a good example to other par­ties and to let them know about the opposition party using dic­tatorial powers to kick out its members.”

Neang Sean said Sam Rainsy initially agreed to meet with former party members to solve the con­flict, but did not follow through—necessitating last week’s vandalism.

He said the former members are not asking for their leadership posts back, but want to be brought back into the party. “We need real democracy, real justice,” he said.



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