Hundreds of Khmer Krom protesters marched to the French Embassy and the Council of Ministers yesterday, calling for support in their demands for an apology from Vietnam over comments made four months ago by a former embassy spokesman.
In early June, then-spokesman Trung Van Thong said that the former Kampuchea Krom provinces in the Mekong Delta belonged to Vietnam long before being officially ceded by colonial power France in 1949.
Yesterday marked the third day of the latest round of protests over the comments.
“If there is no apology, the Cambodian government should temporarily cut off its diplomatic relationship [with Vietnam] until the Vietnamese government [does so], and all Cambodian people both inside and outside the country should stop using Vietnamese products and services,” said Thach Setha, president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association.
Representatives of the French Embassy and the Council of Ministers accepted the protesters’ petitions.
During yesterday’s action, protesters handed out leaflets promoting the boycott of Vietnamese products.
“Motorbike drivers should stop drinking Vietnamese coffee and turn to our Cambodian products,” one said.
In front of the Vietnamese Embassy, more protesters gathered and, for the third day running, set fire to Vietnamese flags.
Analyst Kem Ley said that the unrest may continue indefinitely if the governments fail to explain an agreed-upon history for the disputed territory.