CNRP Plans Practice Demonstrations Ahead of Real Protest

The CNRP has scheduled two practice demonstrations for next week in order to ensure that nationwide rallies planned for September 7 are held peacefully, the party said in a statement on Friday.

The announcement came a day after 100 party members and provincial activists for the opposition party held a three-hour training session in Phnom Penh with a team of foreign experts on how to demonstrate peacefully.

“The Cambodia National Rescue Party will have a tryout to demonstrate for two days; firstly on Sep­tember 1, and secondly on September 5,” the statement says, although it did not say where and at what time the practice sessions would occur.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the practice sessions would involve about 1,000 people and include role-play exercises.

“We have to practice because our demonstration must be very peaceful and it’s nonviolent, and even if the police or the armed forces do anything to us or act violent, we have to act patient.”

Asked if the practice demonstrations would include conjuring up different scenarios, Mr. So­vann said some participants “will act as police, and some will act as demonstrators.”

On the day of the demonstration itself, which is scheduled for September 7, the party will have drawn up a code of conduct based on the practice sessions and will read it out to demonstrators.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the sessions are further proof that the CNRP is committing “political terrorism” and is out to send a message “that makes people worried and puts pressure on them.”

Separately, CNRP president Sam Rainsy wrote again to Senate President Chea Sim on Friday after the latter responded to a request that the CNRP and CPP’s leadership meet in order to hold negotiations over election irregularities.

Mr. Sim had said that while the CPP is open to further discussions, the official process of investigating the disputed outcome of the election must be respected. The opposition, however, is calling for an independent inquiry that does not involve the National Election Committee.

“Standing on the spirit of a peaceful resolution to guarantee justice and peace for the Cambo­dian people in accordance with the letter from Samdech [Chea Sim], I support the idea to have discussions between top leaders of the Cambodia National Rescue Party and the Cambodian People’s Party to find a resolution on the irregularities of the [national election] to achieve political reform to develop our country,” Mr. Rainsy said in his letter.

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