S’ville Officials Accused of Disrupting Meeting

Kem Sokha, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, on Sunday accused local au­thorities in Sihanoukville municipality of blasting out modern Khmer music in an attempt to disrupt his private meeting with some 20 villagers on Friday morning.

Kem Sokha said that before he arrived in Koki village in Oknha Heng commune, both the commune deputy chief and village chief showed up at the house where the meeting was to take place and or­dered the owner to cancel the event.

“He [the commune deputy chief] told me to be careful,” the owner of the house said on condition of anonymity Sunday.

After the homeowner refused to cancel the meeting, some 20 po­lice officers arrived on a pick-up truck, and stayed outside the house and on nearby street corners, said Kem Sokha, adding that their presence did not affect the meeting as much as the loud mu­sic coming from a neighbor’s house.

“I asked him why he was playing so loud and he said the village chief had told him to,” Kem Sokha said. “Then I asked the village chief and he said he wanted [the neighbor] to repair his loudspeakers,” he ad­ded.

Commune chief Neak Sam Oe­un said that the authorities did not stop the villagers attending the talk with Kem Sokha, and that police were there to protect him.

The village chief could not be reached on Sunday.

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