Interior Minister Says No to Opposition’s Marching Plans

The Interior Ministry on Sunday released three statements saying that workers’ unions, civil society groups and the opposition CNRP will be allowed to hold rallies and protests on Tuesday to mark International Human Rights Day, but will not be allowed to march.

The CNRP has planned marches in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap City to mark the day, while human rights NGOs and unions have planned their own rallies and marches in Phnom Penh.

The first of the three letters reminds political parties, government groups, NGOs and civil servants planning to hold events on Tuesday that they must inform municipal authorities of their intentions to rally.

The other letters, signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, hand down orders to authorities to allow protests throughout Phnom Penh.

“Allow the CNRP to rally in Freedom Park from 7 a.m. to 12 noon, hosting no more than 10,000 people…[but] without marching, although 10 representatives may be assigned to bring a petition to the National Assembly,” the second letter says, also allowing unions to rally.

The third directs authorities to allow the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee to hold a 5,000-strong rally in front of Wat Phnom between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., but “without marching and distributing any leaflets.”

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the opposition would nevertheless lead three groups of people through the city to the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The letters do not address the CNRP’s plan to march in Siem Reap City in the afternoon. Provincial authorities have said the party will neither be allowed to march or take their rally to Angkor Wat.

Ke Sovannaroth, the head of the CNRP’s working committee in Siem Reap province, said the party would not back down from its plans and had on Saturday informed authorities of its planned route for Tuesday.

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