CNRP Rally Continues Into Third Day With Buddhist Ceremony

The opposition CNRP’s demonstration to demand Prime Minister Hun Sen resign or call a new election continued for a third day Tuesday with a small Buddhist ceremony in Freedom Park and a short protest drive through Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district.

After a morning of rain and early afternoon showers, CNRP President Sam Rainsy and Vice President Kem Sokha arrived at the park at 4:30 p.m. and made their way to a small platform set up amid a throng of protesters.

Among the crowd of a few thousand, and joined by CNRP lawmakers-elect Kuoy Bunroeun and Mu Sochua, Mr. Rainsy and Mr. Sokha knelt down in prayer before turning to face a group of monks who chanted prayers over a microphone.

Rising from the prayer, Mr. Sokha began his opening speech amid the protesters.

“If you do not want people to use public force like this to demand justice, go and call a re-election,” Mr. Sokha said, obviously referring to Mr. Hun Sen.

Mr. Rainsy then gave a short speech before announcing the beginning of the CNRP’s third march in three days.

Standing on the bed of a small truck and waving Cambodian flags, the opposition leaders led the rally away from Freedom Park before turning right at Sisowath Quay.

Surrounded by supporters on foot and motorcycle, the marchers once again chanted “Hun Sen, stand down” as they made their way as far as the Chroy Changvar bridge, then turned left toward the Old Stadium roundabout and back onto Monivong Boulevard before returning to Freedom Park.

Riot and military police were again noticeably absent from the city’s streets, but were later seen in large numbers inside the grounds of Phnom Penh City Hall as the opposition rally passed by.

Back at the park at around 6 p.m., Mr. Rainsy and Mr. Sokha took their seats as a pair of young supporters belted out two upbeat, hip-hop style songs to a chorus chant of “Hun Sen, stand down” from the crowd.

Before Mr. Rainsy signed off for the night with an extended tale of his time spent living in exile in France, Mr. Sokha issued a warning to Mr. Hun Sen and his ruling CPP.

“One day enough people will come, and we will all sit and block the roads—we don’t even know which roads [we will block]—if they do not agree to a new election and to find justice,” he said.

“For now, we can tell you there are only two roads: a new election, or stand down. Which one do you select?”

Related Stories

Latest News