After his road-side stall was smashed by pro-CPP demonstrators, a bloodied retailer complains to a UN monitor.
RETAILERS around Olympic Market say they are angry about looting in the wake of a
pro-CPP rally on Sunday and also about the lack of protection by the police.
The market had been closed when the pro-CPP demonstration was held at the Olympic
But problems began in the area when people emerging from the rally were taunted by
According to one shop owner the demonstrators then chased the bystanders into a block
on Sihanouk Boulevard.
Ban Nget, 30, who owns a cigarette store in the block said that she had already emptied
most of her stock from the shop when she saw people going into Olympic Stadium "armed
with wooden sticks" - a precaution that was followed by about 90% of retailers
in the area.
She said that when the demonstrators failed to find the people who had taunted them
they turned to looting.
"They broke this case and took some cigarettes with them," she said pointing
to a smashed glass storage cabinet.
Nget's husband said that they attacked items they could not steal.
"After they took cigarettes, they tried to take my motorbike but they could
not because it was locked so they just badly damaged my motorbike," Nget's husband
Nget said she was outraged when she was told by her friends that the government-run
television, TVK, aired the footage of destruction of her property and said that this
destruction was done by Sam Rainsy's demonstrators.
"They just put all the blame on Sam Rainsy, because Sam Rainsy has no means
of response," she said angrily.
"Sam Rainsy has held demonstrations for many days but not even a single condom
has been reported to be looted," joked a man standing next to her.
At the same time as shops in Nget's block were being attacked, another group of demonstrators
entered Chun Heng Thmei restaurant on the corner of Sihanouk Boulevard and Street
105, smashing the kitchen equipment and taking cans of drinks.
The restaurant owner, who asked not to be named said that he would not report the
incident to the authorities.
"I don't know how much the damage was worth because I am not going to claim
for reparation," he said.
"Police did not take any serious action to stop these people from destroying
my property, police just stood and watched them because they are pro-Samdech Second
One electronics shop owner on Sihanouk Boulevard said he closed his business every
time there was a demonstration as a precaution, no matter which side of the political
coin it came from.
However he said he was never too worried by the Sam Rainsy-led demonstrations because
"the demonstrators did not carry wooden sticks or stones with them".
He said his greatest worry was that "the pro- CPP demonstrators are protected
by police and military police, so when they loot our property, we don't know who
we will complain to."
However, Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak dismissed claims that there
had been any looting, saying that there had only been some property damaged when
demonstrators chased people who disturbed their rally.
"So far we have not received any complaints from the people whose property was
destroyed during Sunday's demonstration," he said.
Nor did he believe the police stood by while pro-CPP demonstrators ran amuck.
"It is not right if police did not take action to stop demonstrators from destroying
people's property," he said.
And he added that many of Sunday's pro-CPP demonstrators believed the event was the
only time they had to vent their feelings and that they were angry when they were
He said the mob "chased the people who disturbed their demonstration and at
the time of chasing, it affected the property of the people".
He said police tried to stop them but they had been busy for the past week and were
now tired so they could not contain all of the "angry mob."