Government, Groups Brace For Vote on NGO Law

With CPP lawmakers expected to pass a highly controversial law regulating NGOs and associations Monday, City Hall said Sunday that it would use “many measures” to ensure that protesters are not able to rally outside the National Assembly.

Municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said the hundreds of people planning to protest Monday against the law would not be allowed near parliament during a plenary session scheduled for the morning, which the opposition CNRP has vowed to boycott.

“We cannot allow the rally because the top leaders are having a meeting,” he said. “We will provide protection and make a good environment for the lawmakers, politicians, people and government to do their daily work.”

Asked how City Hall planned to prevent protesters from reaching the National Assembly, Mr. Dimanche said: “We will use many measures to stop it.”

During a session of parliament two weeks ago, police and government security guards set up four separate roadblocks to prevent people from protesting against the NGO law in front of the National Assembly, but let them gather once lawmakers departed.

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, said he expected at least 1,000 people to take to the city’s streets Monday to protest against the law, which has been blasted by hundreds of local and international NGOs and associations, along with the U.N., U.S. and European Union.

Real Camerin, a CNRP lawmaker, said he would be among the protesters, and that other opposition parliamentarians would likely join the rally, too, as they would not be taking part in the National Assembly session.

“We do not want to have violence,” he said. “The struggle must have sacrifice to show the government that the people and the CNRP are not happy with the law.”

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said on Friday that ruling party lawmakers would pass the law—recently made a priority by Prime Minister Hun Sen—on Monday despite the opposition boycott.

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