City authorities have told Sam Rainsy Party members planning a rally to protest land grabbing that they can gather in Olympic Stadium Tuesday morning, but cannot march to the National Assembly, as they had planned.
“To maintain security and public order, Phnom Penh municipality…will not allow the march on public roads,” Deputy Governor Chev Kimheng said in a statement issued Friday to Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians.
Chev Kimheng said the stadium is not under the jurisdiction of the municipality and that permission must be obtained from the Ministry of Education. He also told the rally organizers they will be responsible for any damage caused by the demonstration.
Meng Rita, a Sam Rainsy Party senator, said the rally, set to begin in the Olympic Stadium at 8 am Tuesday, will continue as planned. “I think they cannot stop the march,” he said, adding that there have been no problems with marches in the past.
“It’s a peaceful march.”
Villagers from four provinces have been camped out in the park across from the National Assembly for the past several days, pleading with the government to intervene in their cases, most of which involve allegations of land being stolen by powerful local authorities or police.