Student Rally Dispersed by City Police

More than 100 members of the Democratic Front of Khmer Stu­dents and Intellectuals were driven away from the National As­sembly Sunday morning by ap­proximately 200 municipal police officials, some of whom carried bamboo batons.

The activists had hoped to rally against a border agreement with Vietnam that Prime Minister Hun Sen has said the government will approve.

The police chased the activists from the Assembly toward the park west of the Independence Monument by threatening the students with the batons and driving motorcycles into the crowd, Dem­ocratic Front Secretary-General Sun Sokunmealea said Sunday. Police also confiscated film, microphones and banners from the students, she said.

Although municipal Chief of Cabinet Mann Chhoeun issued an order Saturday denying the Democratic Front the right to stage a demonstration Sunday and today, students still attempted to deliver to the Assembly a copy of a letter asking the UN to intervene in Cambodia’s border discussions with Vietnam.

The letter also asked the UN to help uphold the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which stated that treaties incompatible with the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be terminated. This would annul treaties signed in 1979, 1982, 1983 and 1985—treaties the group believes gave Vietnam sovereignty over parts of Cambodia, Sun Sokunmealea said.

The letter was addressed to UN special human rights envoy Peter Leuprecht, who is in Cambodia for his eighth official visit. The students had planned to march from the Assembly to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Hu­man Rights on Mao Tse-tung Boulevard in order deliver the letter. Sun Sokunmealea said group members would attempt to give Leuprecht the letter today.

Also on Sunday morning, managers of the Lucky Star Hotel in Tuol Kok district prevented Funcinpec lawmaker Nan Sy, Sam Rainsy Party Senator Thach Setha and more than 100 members of the Student Movement For Democracy from holding a scheduled conference on border dispute issues at the hotel .

A hotel supervisor, who asked not to be named, said he did not allow the students to congregate because they did not have permission from the government. The group made a $40 deposit on Feb 20 to reserve a conference room for 200 participants, according to a hotel receipt.

Student Movement For Democ­racy President Um Sam An said the group legally did not need the government’s permission to use the hotel.

“We accept the ideas of [King Norodom Sihanouk] and reject Hun Sen’s 1980s treaties. These treaties contrast with Article 55 of the Constitution and the Paris Peace Agreement,” Um Sam An said outside the hotel.

Article 55 of the 1993 Consti­tution states that treaties and agreements not compatible with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cambodia “shall be annulled.”

Um Sam An said the group would try to meet with the King to express their concerns and would stage a demonstration only as a last resort.

(Additional reporting by Yun Samean)

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