No sooner had Marshal Lon Nol assumed absolute power and sworn himself in as the Khmer Republic's first President on Tuesday (March 4, 1972) than he was faced with student demonstrations against his right-hand man, Lieutenant-General Sirik Matak - a former member of the deposed Royal Family.
GV Faculty of Medicine with students & banners outside
SV Ditto with banner "We want freedom of speech" (2 shots)
SCU Placard "For whom is the revolution"
CU Banner quotes "Lon Nol Oui, Sirik Matak Non"
SV INT Students sit around on floor
LV University building with armed students on gates
LV Banners on university building "We struggle against all forms of dictatorship"
SV & CU Armed students check others students I.D. cards as they come and go from university building (6 shots)
FACULTY OF MEDICINE WITH STUDENTS AND BANNERS DECLARING "WE WANT FREEDOM OF SPEECH" AND "LON NOL OUI, SIRIK MATAK NON". STUDENT SITTING ON FLOOR; UNIVERSITY BUILDING WITH ARMED STUDENTS ON GATES; ARMED STUDENTS CHECKING IDENTITY CARDS OF OTHER STUDENTS ENTERING AND LEAVING UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS.
Initials ES. 1745 SH/MR/BB/1745
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Background: No sooner had Marshal Lon Nol assumed absolute power and sworn himself in as the Khmer Republic's first President on Tuesday (March 4, 1972) than he was faced with student demonstrations against his right-hand man, Lieutenant-General Sirik Matak - a former member of the deposed Royal Family.
The demonstrators seized control of the main faculty buildings in Phnom Penh and boycotted lectures in protest against the inclusion of Prince Sirik Matak in the new government. Armed students checked the identity of everyone entering or leaving the vicinity.
Lt-General Sirik Matak was formerly the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister. He was widely tipped as the new Vice-President. But although he has renounced his Royal links, the General has been regarded with suspicion by many students - nearly 20,000 of whom defied a back-to-classes order from the Marshal.
One day after this film was taken, Lt-General Sirik Matak announced that he was withdrawing from political life.
SYNOPSIS: The Khmor Republic--and students seize control of University buildings in Phnom Penh. The demonstration came just one day after Marshal Lon Nol assumed absolute power and swore himself in as the country's first President. The students--about 20,000 of them--were protesting against the inclusion in the new government of Lieutenant-General Sirik Matak, the Marshal's right-hand man.
The General--a former member of the deposed Royal Family--had renounced his royal links. But students still distrusted him.
Armed demonstrators manned entrances to the university. Three days earlier, a mooting between Marshal Lon Nol and militant law students brought apparent reconciliation.
But the students ignored invitations to the ceremony in which Marshal Lon Nol became "President for all affairs," with total control over the executive, the legislature and the judiciary--a power not unlike the monarchy he overthrew two years ago. General Sirik Matak, the former Deputy Prime Minister, was the main contender for the Vice Presidency. But almost immediately after the demonstrations, it was announced over the national radio that the General had decided to withdraw from political life.