The day after a public forum organized by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights was shut down by police in Kompong Speu province, a senior CPP official said Wednesday that no action should be taken against party supporters who were allegedly responsible for causing the disturbance that led police to stop the event.
Halfway through the forum’s program of guest speakers in Kong Pisei district, a group of some 40 people began shouting pro-CPP slogans and pointing aggressively at speakers, leading police to shut the event down due to security concerns.
CPP Honorary President Heng Samrin said that his party had not ordered the group to disrupt the forum and that they had a right to attend the public event.
“Our party did not order them to disturb the forum. They praise the government because they know the government has done many good things for them,” Heng Samrin said.
Kong Pisei district deputy police chief Ou Thol said that local police were unable to keep the forum under control as only two police officers were present.
CCHR President Kem Sokha accused the police of inaction and called on the government to rein in the ruling party’s unruly supporters.
“I appeal to the government to stop all the CPP activists who disturb the public forums,” Kem Sokha said, adding that if the police had intervened earlier they could have checked the troublemakers’ actions.
“I think they [the CCP supporters and the police] might know each other,” he said. “If people had done something like that at a CPP forum the police would have taken action quickly,” he added.