CPP Prepares To Mark 25th Anniversary

The CPP is planning a massive ceremony next week to mark the 25th anniversary of the inauguration of the anti-Pol Pot resistance movement that eventually became the CPP, a party official said Sunday.

More than 10,000 CPP supporters and leaders are expected to participate in the ceremony Dec 2 at CPP headquarters in Phnom Penh, party spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.

“We will hold the anniversary dedicated to the resistance souls to topple Pol Pot’s regime,”he said.

CPP officials will celebrate the anniversary in all provinces, he added.

The National United Front for the Salvation of Kampuchea, led by Pen Sovann, the current president of the Cambodia National Sustaining Party, was inaugurated in Kratie province on Dec 2, 1978. Backed by the Vietnamese Army, the front toppled the Khmer Rouge regime and drove it from Phnom Penh on Jan 7, 1979.

The Vietnamese then helped the leaders of the front, who by then had changed the movement’s name to the People’s Revolution­ary Party of Kampu­chea, to create a pro-Hanoi

communist government that included Heng Samrin, who is now the CPP’s honorary president, and current Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Vietnamese occupation lasted until 1989.

Khmer Front Party President Suth Dina on Sunday that Cam­bo­dia should not celebrate the anniversary because public hostility toward Vietnam remains for its prolonged occupation of the country.

“I appeal to the Cambodian people not to hold the ceremony because the front was founded by the Vietnamese government to take over Cambodia,” Suth Dina said.

He said his party will issue a statement denouncing the commemoration.

Suth Dina added that the Khmer Front Party is planning to hold a demonstration Jan 7 to protest the CPP for its cooperation with the Vietnamese Army. But, he said, he feared the Pago­da Boys, a group of pro-Hun Sen activists, would be unleashed to break up the protest.

Interviewed Sunday, former front leader Pen Sovann said he had originally created the front on March 5, 1978, by rounding up a group of about 300 people in Takeo province.

In September 1978, he said, he asked the Vietnamese government to help fight against the Khmer Rouge. As part of the agreement, he said, Hanoi promised its troops would be withdrawn from Cambodia after liberation.

Pen Sovann, said Vietnam went back on its word and he was arrested and imprisoned for more than 10 years in Hanoi.

Pen Sovann said Cambodia should celebrate both Dec 2 and Jan 7, but he still held some reservations.

“The Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and did not keep their promise that they would withdraw,” Pen Sovann said.

 

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