The ruling Cambodian People’s Party is expecting 20,000 supporters to turn out today for the 36th anniversary of January 7th, the annual commemoration of the Khmer Rouge’s defeat that has become a deeply one-sided political affair.
Senior government officials, members of the Senate and the National Assembly, party activists and foreign diplomats will attend the commemoration at CPP headquarters in Phnom Penh, according to the schedule issued by the Ministry of Information yesterday.
Doves and balloons will be released at the end of ceremony, which will not be attended by Senate president Chea Sim, due to his ongoing illness.
Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a provincial hall in Tbong Khmum province on Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen read some of a statement by Sim.
“Nothing would have occurred if not for January 7, 1979. There is no Paris Peace Agreement and no life until today,” the statement said. Opposition parties have long snubbed the anniversary, calling it the start of a decade-long Vietnamese occupation and the beginning of the rule of Hun Sen.
CNRP spokesman Yem Ponharith yesterday said the opposition has never supported January 7, 1979, as a national holiday.