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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gas station barred us, CNRP motorists say

Gas station barred us, CNRP motorists say

Motorists exit a Total petrol station in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district.
Motorists exit a Total petrol station in Daun Penh district yesterday. CNRP supporters claim they were denied service during a campaign rally Sunday. PHA LINA

Gas station barred us, CNRP motorists say

Petrol giant Total yesterday defended the actions of one of its stations after a video in which attendants can be seen refusing to fill the tanks of opposition party supporters went viral.

As seen in the three-minute video posted by an account named Khmer Amatak Samaky, not a single petrol attendant came out to assist customers who had come from a CNRP rally on Sunday night and stopped at the station near the corner of Russian and Monivong boulevards.

One teen in the video complains: “[We] have money to buy gasoline but they won’t sell it to us. Very cruel, they want us to walk our motorbikes.”

By Tuesday afternoon, the clip had been shared by nearly 1,000 users, inciting a fiery debate between CPP and CNRP supporters.

“They are afraid that the CNRP will win the election and reduce petrol prices, so they wouldn’t sell it to us,” one internet comment read.

In a statement released last night, the company said it had carried out an investigation using security-camera footage and established that the station had been briefly closed down for safety reasons.

“We closed the operation to all our customers … not just the CNRP’s supporters. After the operation resumed, Total served our products to all of our customers irrespective of their political affiliation,” reads the statement, which notes that the company is “strictly apolitical”.

Staff at the petrol station said the sheer amount of customers at the time of the rally was too much for the three staff members to handle.

“We are a business, and we want to sell with no political bias. We sell to all, but there were too many people at one time. We have to think about security and fire incidents,” an attendant who asked not to be named told the Post.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MELISSA MCMORRAN

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