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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Union head blasts halt to screening

Union head blasts halt to screening

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SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua speaks to would-be film viewers after a screening of Who Killed Chea Vichea? was cut off after about 25 minutes on Tuesday at a restaurant in Daun Penh district.

The president of the Free Trade Union lashed out against Daun Penh district authorities yesterday, alleging they halted the screening of a controversial documentary about the murder of labour leader Chea Vichea.

Union leaders, garment workers and officials from the Sam Rainsy Party gathered at a Daun Penh district restaurant on Tuesday to screen Who Killed Chea Vichea?, a documentary about the former FTU leader’s
murder. Power was cut out about 25 minutes into the film and restaurant security ordered an end to the proceedings.

“The FTU would like to firmly condemn the disorderly activities of Daun Penh district authorities that disturbed the screening on International Women’s Day,” said President of the FTU Chea Mony in a statement.

He urged senior government officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, to take legal action against “the worthless actions” of Sok Penhvuth, Daun Penh district deputy governor.

Sok Penhvuth dismissed the allegations yesterday, saying he would file a court complaint against Chea Mony for “accusing me illegally with no evidence and no documents”.

However, a female employee at New World restaurant, where the film was screened, told Voice of America Khmer that she received a phone call from district authorities on Tuesday, demanding the screening be stopped.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said yesterday that a power outage could be to blame for the failed screening. He warned the FTU against using electricity problems to provoke authorities and start a Tunisian-style uprising.

“Do they want to do as Tunisia?” said Khieu Sopheak. “Be careful about closing the door to beat the dog.”

He said the documentary was only allowed to be screened in a house or FTU office, claiming the New World restaurant was under the control of authorities, despite being a private business

Screenings of Who Killed Chea Vichea? have been frequently halted in the last year, with authorities calling the documentary an “illegal import”.

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