The CPP began its celebrations of the 27th anniversary of the fall of the Khmer Rouge on Friday, while the ultra-nationalist Khmer Front Party said it had been denied permission to demonstrate against the occasion in Phnom Penh.
Deputy Prime Minister Sok An led a rally of 10,000 people in Takeo provincial town Friday, Provincial Governor Sou Phirin said. The official anniversary of the rebels’ fall is Saturday.
In Sisophon, the captial of Banteay Meanchey province, about 5,000 people gathered to listen to a speech by Funcinpec Provincial Governor Heng Chantha, officials said. Cash and food donations were distributed to members of the public later at CPP provincial headquarters.
The Khmer Front Party had planned to protest on Saturday outside the National Assembly against what it calls the start of the Vietnamese occupation.
But the party has postponed the rally indefinitely after being denied permission by the Phnom Penh Municipality, party secretary-general Mao Sam Oeurn said.
“The authorities do not allow us to gather and they said they already prepared to crack down on our peaceful protest,” he said.
Suon Rindy, deputy municipal cabinet chief, said he was too busy to speak to a reporter.
Sam Rainsy Acting President Kong Korm, who served the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea as foreign minister during the 1980s, issued a statement decrying the government’s celebration.
He said the government should not celebrate the liberation from the Khmer Rouge at a time when government critics are being arrested.
“With the suppression and crackdowns on the freedom of expression…the [anniversary] comes at an unpleasant turning point that undermines the image of Cambodia,” he wrote.