Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen, Rainsy set to attract ‘thousands’ for New York visit

Hun Sen, Rainsy set to attract ‘thousands’ for New York visit

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hun Sen greets political officials at Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on August 21. Heng Chivoan

Hun Sen, Rainsy set to attract ‘thousands’ for New York visit

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday announced plans to meet “thousands” of supporters in the US for the first time after his landslide victory in July’s national elections, polls described as allegedly “flawed” by many Western nations.

In the meantime, opposition figure Sam Rainsy is set to lead a mass rally against the prime minister.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won all 125 seats in the National Assembly in elections criticised by the White House as “neither free nor fair [and] failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people”.

The US reasoned that this was the case after the Supreme Court dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the arrest on treason charges of its former president Kem Sokha.

Hun Sen is invited to the US as Cambodian leader to participate in the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York from Thursday to Sunday. The Kingdom is set to play an important role at the meeting as Vice-President of the UNGA.

The prime minister posted on his Facebook page that while there he also plans to meet CPP supporters who live in the US.

“I will take the opportunity to meet and speak with Khmer-Americans who live in the US. Regardless of where they live, they are still part of one big Cambodian family."

“I would like to pay respects to and greet all Khmer-Americans who plan to meet me in the near future,” Hun Sen said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said on Sunday that there would be CPP supporters in their thousands to welcome Hun Sen.

Meanwhile, CNRP supporters announced that Rainsy, the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement, is also to lead “thousands” of supporters of the former opposition party to demonstrate during Hun Sen’s visit to the UN.

According to the CNRP announcement, Rainsy will lead a “mass rally” on Friday at United Nations Plaza in New York from 10am-3pm. It says the protest will call on the international community not to recognise Hun Sen’s “illegitimate government”.

They will call on the international community not to recognise a government created from “fake” elections, while protest organisers have warned that they aim to throw eggs at the prime minister’s convoy.
Rainsy did not respond to a request for comment as of press time on Tuesday.

Hon Susakoeun, a Khmer-American CNRP supporter residing in North Carolina and a rally organiser, said he hopes thousands of Cambodians will participate in the Rainsy-led protest against Hun Sen’s official visit to the US.

“We will protest against Hun Sen’s dictatorial regime – an illegitimate government created through elections after the CNRP was dissolved and which is not acceptable to us. We will raise banners calling for the release of Kem Sokha who is under house arrest,” he said.

He said that he had not seen any Khmer-Americans show support for Hun Sen.

“I have not encountered Khmer-Americans who support the CPP, especially in North Carolina where I live. I have not seen any CPP support at all,” he claimed.

Political analyst Meas Nee said he believes that protests by Cambodians living in the US could damage the prime minister’s reputation while he is in New York.

“When a country draws criticism from foreign [governments], its leader’s image is affected. When that leader visits a foreign country and faces demonstrations held by his own compatriots or criticism from foreign [governments] or international institutions, it affects [his image].

“As for the demonstrators, they have the right to protest. For a leader, his or her image matters [and so] demonstrators fulfil their role as opposition activists,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • PM sets tourism reopening as centrepiece of ATF 2022

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged ASEAN to reopen tourism and trade now that many of the bloc’s member countries have vaccinated their populations. Speaking at the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022 (ATF 2022) in Preah Sihanouk province on January 18, the premier also said ASEAN has a