Opposition Sam Rainsy Party officials have appealed to garment workers nationwide to attend a planned screening of a controversial documentary about the murder of labour leader Chea Vichea on Labour Day, May 1, at their party headquarters in Phnom Penh.
In a letter obtained by The Post yesterday to be sent to unions, workers and NGOs, SRP officials said that party president Sam Rainsy, who is currently in self-imposed exile in France, will talk with garment workers via video conference at the screening of Who Killed Chea Vichea?.
The 2009 documentary by American director Bradley Cox investigates the 2004 murder of Chea Vichea, former head of the Free Trade Union, examining the charges against two men initially accused of the crime and suggesting that government officials may have helped to plan the murder.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union and brother of Chea Vichea, said yesterday that thousands of workers had been prevented from watching the film because of government inference.
“We could not find any spot to screen the film,” Chea Mony said, adding that he predicted nearly 10,000 people at the screening. “The Interior Ministry spokesman [Khieu Sopheak] has said to watch the film at home.”
Previous attempts to screen the film publicly have been thwarted, with government officials calling the film an “illegal import”.
Last month, a screening of Who Killed Chea Vichea? at a restaurant in Daun Penh district was halted when the restaurant’s owner cut power to the building.
We have promised [this to] workers for a long time
Unionists who attempted to show the film at a Labour Day rally last year had their projector screen pulled down by local police.
“We would now like to appeal to workers and all people who want to watch Who Killed Chea Vichea? to see who was behind [Chea Vichea’s] killers, please go to watch the film at SRP headquarters,” Chea Mony said. He added that the decision to screen the film at SRP headquarters was not politically motivated.
“The Cambodian People’s Party, Funcinpec Party, if any party offers a large space for me to screen the film, I will screen it,” he said.
SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said yesterday that the film must be shown to recall Chea Vichea’s struggle.
“We have promised [this to] the workers for a long time,” Mu Sochua said. “The authorities have always disrupted the screenings.”
Mu Sochua added that the screening was “not secret” and invited government officials to attend.
Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said yesterday that the film was not as important as the current border conflict with Thailand and urged SRP officials pay attention to the fighting.
“Thinking of the battlefield is more important than Who Killed Chea Vichea?,” Khieu Sopheak said.
“Collecting workers to help [Cambodian] armed forces in the battlefield is better.”
Phnom Penh Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth could not be reached for comment yesterday.