KRANG YOV, Kandal - On the morning after Sunday's massive CPP demonstrations in Phnom
Penh, seven villagers gathered at the house of Phan Ngeth to swap tales about their
big day in the city.
Phan Ngeth is chief of Vihear village, Krang Yov commune, Kandal - an area that has
benefited much from Hun Sen's rural development projects. The commune sent 350 villagers
to support Hun Sen on Sunday.
"I don't understand why people in the city always look down on us farmers,"
Ngeth said. "They call us samrey [hicks], black, dirty, stupid, not as talented
as them. I live in this poor house and they live in big, tall, beautiful buildings.
What do they want? When we were driving through the city, they were waving at us
to come down and fight them. But they were only a few. We kept to our own group.
We didn't want anybody from Phnom Penh to join with us. He might be a spy who would
throw a grenade and blame us."
"I got hit on the shoulder by [a rock from] a slingshot," put in Keth,
a traditional boat racer. "This was on the truck, on the road from the stadium."
Phan Ngeth admitted that some had reason to be angry. "We did some things wrong.
We broke people's property when we got hurt from that place. If we didn't get angry,
when people did bad to us, if we just received the hurt, then we would be very good
people. But we are not."
A woman in Vihear said she became frightened when she heard rumors that some of the
demonstrations in Phnom Penh were dangerous and that some people had been killed
"We were worried about people being killed and wounded in Phnom Penh,"she
said. "We heard Phnom Penh was dangerous and were worried for the men in our
Another boat racer, Soth Soeng, said the decision to take up crude arms was made
by individual demonstrators, not CPP organizers, after the city folk gave them a
"We weren't told by our leaders to bring sticks," Soth Soeng said. "But
when I arrived in Phnom Penh, the first welcome I got was people threw rocks at me.
So after we found sticks and rocks by ourselves. Some men bought sugar cane sticks
to protect themselves. That was good because afterward, when they were tired, they
could eat the sticks."