People’s Assembly Will Rally at Freedom Park on Monday

About 1,000 members of the Cambodian Grassroots People’s Assembly—a network of communities throughout the country that includes farmers as well as land and labor activists—will rally at Freedom Park on Monday to demand an end to the current political impasse.

The ruling CPP and opposition CNRP have been locked in an ongoing dispute since July’s national election, which the opposition says was marred by widespread fraud. Mass demonstrations by opposition supporters have prompted the government’s security forces to block major streets and patrol the roads in riot gear in recent weeks.

The political tension has impacted the lives of ordinary Cambodians, representatives of the People’s Assembly said at a press conference.

“The political deadlock makes it difficult for people to live and we are afraid of everything. We are afraid of the government, we’re afraid of what the CNRP will do next,” said Nhel Pheap, president of the Farmer As­sociation for Peace Development.

“When people vote for these parliamentarians, they think that their problems will be addressed. But since the vote, none of the problems have been solved,” he said.

Both political parties received equal amounts of criticism at the conference.

Sim Sophana, a leader of a local fishing network in Kompong Chhnang province, said the CPP should not have opened the National Assembly without the opposition members as it was against the Constitution.

“This is wrong. The people who wrote the law also did not clarify it…so normal people like me don’t understand,” Mr. Sophana said.

On the other hand, the CNRP has an ever-growing list of de­mands that appear to only serve the party, the Farmer Association’s Mr. Pheap said.

“They want the media on their side and a TV station for themselves,” Mr. Pheap said. “First they said they want democracy for the people but now they have all these other demands.”

“Why do these people love pow­er so much that they only want power for one side?” said Prok Vanny, a gender consultant with advocacy group Cambodian Women’s Caucus.

The association’s non-party aligned rally will be held two days before three days of demonstrations by the CNRP.

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