Police in Kompong Cham province on Tuesday stopped a trio of activists ferrying a portrait of slain political analyst Kem Ley through the provincial capital because they were collecting donations from locals along the way.
Market vendors and villagers passed the activists money for the family of Kem Ley, who was murdered in Phnom Penh on Sunday, while they moved a framed portrait of the analyst from a printing shop to the CNRP’s provincial headquarters at about 10 a.m., party lawmaker Mao Monyvann said.
“The activists were transporting the portrait by cart because it is big, and the vendors stopped the cart to pray for Kem Ley and offer money,” Mr. Monyvann said.
Authorities wrongly believed the activists were marching expressly to collect money, he said, “when they were only transporting Kem Ley’s portrait to the provincial office.”
Lun Limthai, the provincial governor, said the CNRP members had marched without permission and demanded money from mourners.
“They wanted to collect the money by showing the Kem Ley portrait so people would pay,” he said.
Deputy provincial police chief Heng Sambath said police had approached the members outside the market, questioned their motives and asked them not to demand money from people. No arrests were made.
“The police went there to ask them to stop marching with the portrait to collect the money in Kompong Cham town,” he said.
The activists denied they were acting at the behest of the CNRP or demanding money from mourners, Mr. Sambath said.
San Soeurng, a provincial CNRP member, said police confiscated the portrait and cart after questioning the activists, who negotiated to get it back.
“We made an agreement with police not to march,” he said.
Mr. Soeurng said they were allowed to hold on to the money they collected and that it would be passed on to Kem Ley’s family, though he did not know how much it amounted to.
kimsay@cambodiadaily.com
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