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Party accuses city hall of banning demonstrations

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Activists protest at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to demand the release of union leader Rong Chhun. Heng Chivoan

Party accuses city hall of banning demonstrations

The Phnom Penh municipal administration is denying a claim by the Khmer Win Party (KWP) that it is prohibiting demonstrations calling for the release of union leader Rong Chhun and quashing freedom of speech.

City officials called the allegations false and intending to mislead the public.

The KWP said this after a meeting with the Phnom Penh municipal administration on Monday to discuss a proposed four-day demonstration at the Freedom Park in Russey Keo district.

Party officials said denial of demonstrations for the release of Chhun is a restriction on freedom of speech and contradicts the principles of democracy and the law.

The Phnom Penh municipal administration issued a press release to counter the allegations.

“The statement from Khmer Win Party contradicts the spirit of the meeting by claiming the Phnom Penh municipal administration is restricting demonstrations for the release of Rong Chhun.

“This party also wrongly raised that there could be skirmishes and arrests of demonstrators because of such a restriction,” it said.

Municipal officials said the denial of demonstrations is based on the spread of Covid-19. Furthermore, large gatherings violate Ministry of Health regulations. It has asked the party to comply with the law and amend its statement.

KWP spokesman Yin Chhoeun told The Post on Tuesday that he has yet to receive any letter from the Phnom Penh municipal administration.

He said to prevent any response that confuses the public, prior internal review and discussions are best held.

“I have yet to receive any actual details that the authority has raised such condemnations and have yet to have an internal discussion on the matter, so I cannot respond yet,” he said.

KWP leader Soung Sophoarn took to Facebook on Tuesday night.

“Is this how the city hall works? The notice and the restriction are issued on the same day? The Phnom Penh governor already issued a restriction prohibiting demonstrations for the release of Rong Chhun?” he asked.

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