City Hall Rejects Mam Sonando’s Protest Plan

Beehive Radio station owner Mam Sonando said Monday that Phnom Penh City Hall informed him during a meeting Monday that it will not allow a protest planned for March 31, once again citing the need to restore public order.

“The deputy [Phnom Penh] governor Khuong Sreng said that the planned demonstration should be postponed,” Mr. Sonando said, adding that he asked for an alternate date, but received no answer.

In January, the Ministry of Information rejected Mr. Sonando’s latest request for wider radio coverage and a television license. Since then, Mr. Sonando has repeatedly asked for permission to protest in front of the ministry, but saw his requests denied.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said a demonstration could not go ahead until “the situation and public order are completely back to normal,” and until investigations into the killings of protesting garment factory workers in early January are complete.

Military police shot live AK-47 rifle fire at striking garment factory workers, killing five and injuring more than 40 .

Authorities, Mr. Dimanche said, still had to decide who was responsible for the violence before allowing further demonstrations.

Mr. Sonando said his protest would go ahead despite the ban.

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