In his latest criticism of the U.S. government, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday admonished the heavy-handed response of authorities toward protests that have broken out over a fatal police shooting of an unarmed young black man in Missouri.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, Mr. Hun Sen pointed to the many arrests of people who have taken to the streets to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, in a St. Louis suburb on August 9.
Mr. Hun Sen noted that Cambodia had its own unrest last year, as tens of thousands took to the streets against the CPP’s disputed election victory as well as meager wages in the garment industry. At least five workers were shot dead by military police in a suppression of the protest, drawing harsh criticism from the U.S.
“I kind of wonder about America,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “The demonstrators just throw water bottles at authorities, and they were arrested, and America has not said anything.”
“When, in our country, they burned cars, they threw stones, and they used slingshots and metal pieces, we managed the situation, and they said we abused human rights,” he said.
Mr. Hun Sen said the curfew put in place by authorities in Missouri showed the U.S. is holding other countries to a different standard than it does itself, defending the government’s closure of Freedom Park in Phnom Penh this year.
“I don’t criticize America, but it has different standards,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “We took measures to protect people’s safety, and just banned about a half hectare of land because we…feared problems, and they said we abused freedom of expression.”
Mr. Hun Sen also asked why Brad Adams, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division and a longtime critic of the prime minister, had not issued a statement criticizing the U.S.’ response to the Missouri protests.
“Now I have not heard the people who had shouted at us. In particular, what has Brad Adams criticized against Obama?” he asked.
“In this world, there is not a single standard, there are only double standards and triple standards,” he added.