Activist Organizations Accuse City Hall of Bias

Representatives of the Khmer Kam­puchea Krom Coordination Committee and the Students’ Mo­vement for Democracy have accus­ed City Hall of bias after being de­nied permission to hold demonstrations before Prime Minister Hun Sen’s meeting on Wednesday with Viet­namese First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Hun Sen and Nguyen Tan Dung are scheduled to discuss the signing of a controversial border pact.

Ir Channa, Students’ Movement for Democracy deputy secretary-gen­­eral, said that while the municipality denied his group’s request, City Hall has recommended that the Interior Ministry give permission to pro-government student groups for demonstrations against opposition party leader Sam Rainsy.

“It is injustice,” Ir Channa said, ad­ding that the group will hold the pro­test without permission as re­newal of the 1985 border pact will cause Cambodia to lose at least 40,000 square km to Vietnam.

The group has declined to give the protest’s location because they fear authorities will attempt to suppress the event.

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Co­ordination Committee was also denied permission to march from its office in Russei Keo district to the Vietnamese Embassy in order to press for greater freedoms for ethnic Khmers living in Vietnam, Kim Vanchheng, the committee’s executive director, said Sunday.

“The Phnom Penh Municipality is biased to another group, and has abused our freedom to demonstrate,” Kim Vanchheng said.

In a letter dated Saturday, Phnom Penh Municipal Deputy Gov­ernor Mam Bun Neang suggested that the committee petition the Viet­­­nam­ese Embassy instead of holding a public march.

“There is another movement that has asked permission to hold a demonstration against [Sam Rain­sy], and we are afraid that there will be confrontation between demonstrators that authorities cannot control,” Mam Bun Neang wrote.


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