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Kem Sokha won’t meet governor ahead of protest

Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president Kem Sokha has again rejected an invitation to meet the Phnom Penh governor to discuss his party’s planned three-day protest starting on Wednesday.

Sokha was invited to meet Municipal Governor Pa So­cheatvong on Saturday, which he declined, and has now rejected a second meeting scheduled for today.

Yesterday, Sokha said he could not meet the governor due to a busy schedule.

“Today, I am in Siem Reap province, and tomorrow I will be busy in Takeo. But we will still hold the mass demonstration as scheduled,” he said.

Sokha added that the CNRP had gathered nearly two million thumbprints which would be presented as a petition to the United Nations through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the first day of the protest.

Khoun Sreng, deputy Phnom Penh governor, declined to comment on Kem Sokha’s snub yesterday and directed queries to City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche.

Dimanche said the municipality was yet to receive confirmation that the CNRP would attend a meeting today.

He also declined to comment on local media reports that said only 10,000 CNRP supporters would be allowed to rally and that no protesters would be allowed to march.

“If the CNRP does not come to the meeting on October 21, there will be no meeting, and I can’t say in advance what we will do [after that],” he said.

But CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann confirmed yesterday that other party officials including himself would attend this morning’s meeting.

“On Monday, we will meet with the municipality to discuss.… We can’t make any more comment, but we might receive a green light to march.”

In addition to marching to the UN on Wednesday, the party plans on leading 20,000 supporters to the UK, US and French embassies on Thursday, and then other Paris Peace Agreement signatories on Friday.

Sovann said that the municipality has yet to confirm any specific rules or guidelines for Wednesday’s protest.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KEVIN PONNIAH AND SHANE WORRELL

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