The opposition CNRP continued its sixth day of public protests in Phnom Penh on Friday to demand that Prime Minister Hun Sen resign and that new elections are called.
Thousands of opposition supporters took to motorcycles, tuk-tuks and bicycles to drive around the streets of central Daun Penh and Prampi Makara districts, loudly chanting the now familiar refrain: “Hun Sen oi! Chak chenh tou!” which translates as “Hun Sen get out!” Traffic police again traveled in front of the rally, which was led by opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, to ensure the long motorcade moved through the city’s streets without incident, and without causing too much traffic chaos.
Arriving back at Freedom Park, where hundreds of opposition protesters have been camped out since the beginning of the sustained protests on Sunday, Mr. Sokha said that this coming Sunday would be the opposition’s largest peaceful show of force so far.
“On Sunday, many people from the provinces, and garment factory workers, will come. [We] will walk all around Phnom Penh,” he said, adding that there is nothing illegal in the opposition’s peaceful protest, which is a right guaranteed under the Constitution. Mr. Sokha also challenged Mr. Hun Sen’s government to investigate irregularities during July’s national election, which the ruling party has steadfastly refused to do.
“If you say the election was fair, then why don’t you allow an investigation, or a re-election?” he asked.
Mr. Rainsy took to the stage at Freedom Park saying that it was time for the “Khmer nation” to save itself from destruction.
“There is only this chance, it is the final round if we want to liberate our nation at this time,” he said.
“Some said that our demonstration disturbs the traffic and disturbs people traveling on the streets. But who is disturbed when the nation has been destroyed for 30 years?” Mr. Rainsy asked.
“Why don’t they think about that?”
Referring to comments made earlier in the day by Mr. Hun Sen, during which the prime minister said the Constitution would not allow him to step down or call a new election, Mr. Rainsy said that the Constitution also did not allow anyone to steal votes—a direct reference to the opposition’s claim that fraud had won the election for the CPP.
The Phnom Penh Municipality on Friday issued a letter calling Mr. Sokha and Mr. Rainsy to a meeting on Saturday, saying there were many “improper” elements in their demonstrations, including management of protesters, public security and making public comments that had impinged on the rights of other people.
The Senate, which is dominated by the CPP, also issued a statement saying it supported Mr. Hun Sen’s interpretation of the Constitution regarding the inability for him to resign or call a new election.
“The Senate considers that the CNRP’s demands, and its protesters, are to provoke the destruction of peace, stability, public security and the nation’s development,” the statement says.
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