Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP remembers stampede

CNRP remembers stampede

A man places an offering of fruit yesterday at the memorial site where the CNRP held a commemorative ceremony
Today marks the third anniversary of the tragic Koh Pich bridge stampede. A man places an offering of fruit yesterday at the memorial site where the CNRP held a commemorative ceremony a day early. Heng Chivoan

CNRP remembers stampede

Monks chanted and dozens knelt and prayed as the opposition party held a ceremony remembering the victims of the 2010 Koh Pich bridge stampede yesterday, one day before the Phnom Penh municipality is slated to hold its own memorial ceremony.

The stampede claimed 353 lives on the last day of the 2010 Water Festival, but three years on, “our feelings are still marked by pity and so much suffering”, Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Ho Vann said at the event.

“We are all the same as the families of the dead, and still wonder at how the spot was so narrow, how they stampeded while the bridge was so gridlocked that [people] could not cross and how they were suffocated [in the scrum],” Vann told the assembled crowd. “Only an independent committee that has real experts can properly clarify [what caused] this very strange tragedy.”

Members of the CNRP and public held a ceremony
Members of the CNRP and public held a ceremony yesterday, a day early, to mark the three-year anniversary of the Koh Pich tragedy. Heng Chivoan

After a government investigation into the incident determined that overcrowding and panic caused by the swaying of the bridge had caused the stampede, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that no public officials would be held personally responsible for the tragedy.

CNRP president Sam Rainsy was in Svay Rieng during yesterday’s ceremony, but – speaking through a telephone held up to the loudspeaker – called for an investigation, and seemingly insinuated the possibility of foul play.

“It is careless, but [some] can have bad ideas to kill Khmer people to serve [their] interests. That’s why we demand an investigation to find out who is responsible, [and] to reveal the real reason,” he said.

Attendee Van Youdany, 59, seconded the opposition’s calls, saying “Mr [Hun Sen] must find out the truth of this story”.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that the government had already investigated, and accused the opposition of being overly critical.

“What we found out is that the crowds who crossed there panicked, [because] they were afraid of the bridge breaking. So this is regrettable, [but] this story didn’t just happen in Cambodia, it has happened in all countries.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty