PERMISSION for the Mar 30 demonstration by the KNP had been given by the Phnom Penh
Municipality and the Ministry of Interior.
While Hun Sen has suggested that the protest was illegal, documents show both CPP
and Funcinpec officials approved it.
KNP applied to the municipality Mar 26 for approval to hold a march from the party's
headquarters to the National Assembly, to hold a "peaceful demonstration"
urging reforms to the judicial system.
In a Mar 29 reply, Phnom Penh chief of cabinet Mann Chhoeun (Funcinpec) wrote that
the municipality "authorizes KNP to organize" a demonstration between 7-9am
on March 30.
KNP proceeded with the demonstration after receiving the letter, which was not counter-signed
by any CPP official.
However, other documents which did not surface until after the demonstration and
grenade attack show that both the co-Ministers of Interior also granted permission.
In a Mar 27 letter to Ministers Sar Kheng and You Hockry, Phnom Penh first vice-governor
Chea Sophara (CPP) notified them of KNP's request for a demonstration.
Sophara - who is widely considered a close ally of Hun Sen's - noted that KNP was
"not recognized by the government" and that the party had previously held
However, he specifically recommended that the Mar 30 demonstration should be allowed,
writing: "The Municipality of Phnom Penh, in this case, realizes that it should
In a Mar 29 reply, Sar Kheng (CPP) and You Hockry (Funcinpec) wrote that the demonstration
"can be authorized".
The only condition that they placed on KNP - a condition also asked for by Mann Chhoeun
and Chea Sophara - was that the march not go near the "national sacred place"
of the Independence Monument. The monument is also, coincidentally, across the road
from Hun Sen's residence.
Hun Sen, speaking on the afternoon of Mar 30, urged the National Police to pursue
the grenade throwers and "look into the responsibility of the organizers of
"If it was not legally permitted, they must be immediately arrested," he
Political observers expressed surprise at Hun Sen's comments, given Chea Sophara's
close links to the Second Prime Minister. They said that it was not the first time
that the Ministry of Interior had granted approval for KNP demonstrations, but suggested
that it was unusual for an official such as Chea Sophara to recommend the granting
1. Yong Soknev
2. Yong Srei
22 garment worker
3. Chanti Pheakdei
4. Ros Sothea
5. Sok Kheng
20 garment worker
6. Yos Siep
22 garment worker
7. Han Mony
8. Yoeun Yorn
9. Sum Sarin
10. Chet Duong Daravuth
30 KNP & journalist
Five others are believed dead but have not been identitified.
(Information provided by Licadho, and relatives of the dead.)