Phnom Penh Municipality officials informed opposition party representatives yesterday that they have to check with the Ministry of Interior before allowing a planned march this week calling for reform within the National Election Committee to proceed.
Phnom Penh deputy governor Khuong Sreng told the Post yesterday that the city puts a cap of 200 attendees on public demonstrations. Since the Cambodian National Rescue Party-organised demonstration could bring thousands into the streets, the decision is not his for the making.
“[CNRP] has to ask the Interior Ministry,” Sreng said. “The municipality cannot permit because the municipality has competence over only 200 participants.”
CNRP members had planned on staging a large demonstration on Wednesday, starting near Wat Phnom and finishing at the NEC offices. Should the march go on, protesters will call for an audit of the national voter list, which has come under fire recently due to a handful of critical reports on its alleged inaccuracy and lack of transparency.
CNRP lawmaker Ho Van said his party does not need to ask permission, because the law only requires protesters to inform the authorities of their plans, not seek approval. In any case, he vowed, the march will go on.