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IRI Statement Anniversary of an Attack on Demonstrators in Cambodia

March 30, 2005

Washington, DC – IRI issued the following statement on the 8th Anniversary of an attack on peaceful demonstrators in Cambodia.

"Today is the anniversary of a day to remember, a day when 20 people were killed and more than 100 injured merely for exercising their constitutional right to peacefully assemble.  March 30, 1997 reminds us why we are committed to democracy – so that one day all Cambodians will have the freedom to follow their consciences and trust that their safety is being respected and protected.

"The International Republican Institute was greatly affected as our resident country director Ron Abney was one of the many people injured.  As we memorialize the horrific losses of that day in 1997, we must also remember what came out of the attack.

"Today also is the anniversary of a day of renewal, a day that allows us to celebrate the growth and maturity of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP).  Since that fateful event eight years ago, SRP has continued to shine as a beacon of democracy in Cambodia.  The leadership and unity of the SRP was tested on March 30, 1997, and the party came out stronger.  As we honor the casualties of the grenade attack, we must also honor the one reason that brought everyone together that day: the hope for a better, more democratic future.

"As President Bush stated in his second inaugural address 'All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors.  When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.'

"Today, and tomorrow, IRI will be with you to support those who strive for a more democratic Cambodia."

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