Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hero's welcome for returning Rainsy

Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha
Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy (center) and deputy president Kem Sokha (left) greet supporters outside Phnom Penh International Airport on Friday morning. KARA FOX

Hero's welcome for returning Rainsy

Tens of thousands lined the streets outside Phnom Penh International Airport this morning, offering a hero’s welcome to opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, whose return ended nearly four years of self-imposed exile in France.

As he emerged from the gate arm-in-arm with his Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president Kem Sokha, a scream went up from the crowd.

“I have returned to rescue us”, Rainsy shouted before the truck carrying the duo began its slow trip amid the throng of supporters lining both sides of Russian Boulevard.

Rainsy’s return comes one week after the granting of a royal pardon requested by Prime Minister Hun Sen and signed shortly thereafter by King Norodom Sihamoni. The longtime face of the opposition had faced a prison term of 11 years on charges ranging from defamation to incitement.

As this morning’s convoy wound its way down the street toward a planned rally at Freedom Park, cars with loudspeakers followed, riling up the crowd.

“Change or no change?” a man shouted over a loudspeaker.

“Change!” the crowd screamed in response before launching into a sustained chant of “Sam Rainsy! Kem Sokha!”

“It’s time for a change,” Ministry of Education staffer Le Hour, 32, told the Post amid the crowd. “In the office, I’m CPP, but I don’t really support their policies.”

Asked if he thought the CNRP now stood a chance in light of Rainsy’s return, he expressed optimism, with a caveat.

“If the election is free and fair, he will win.”

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Bodies of Cambodian peacekeepers returned to Kingdom

The bodies of four Cambodian peacekeepers killed by a Christian militia in Central African Republic were repatriated to the Kingdom and honoured in an airport ceremony on May 21.

Phnom Penh eats: Ptas Nak Battambang

As the name suggests, Ptsa Nak Battambang – which in English means Battambang's house – is the right place for those who want to try some of the province's typical dishes in Phnom Penh.

Opposition leader Kem Sokha speaks at a CNRP campaign rally today in Kratie province. Facebook

Opposition president Kem Sokha assured voters that all military members would maintain their rank should the CNRP take power in the 2018 national e

Political analyst Kim Sok who is seen being escorted into a police van after his bail was denied in March at the Appeals Court in Phnom Penh, announced that he will go on hunger strike in Prey Say prison from today until the June 4 commune elections.

Imprisoned political analyst and social commentator