The Cambodian Labour Confederation has submitted a request for its members to conduct a march on International Workers’ Day next week in the capital, starting from the Council for the Development of Cambodia near Wat Phnom and ending at the National Assembly.
Ath Thorn, president of the federation, said the request was submitted to Phnom Penh City Hall on Monday and would include around 2,000 workers, adding he was hopeful the authorities would approve it.
“I also saw a directive from the Prime Minister [Hun Sen], and it asks the government to encourage participation and celebration of the International Workers’ Day, so I expect Municipal Hall will let us organise the march,” he said.
The Law on Peaceful Demonstrations does not require official permission to conduct such protests, unless they affect security, and participants are only expected to inform local authorities
in advance. However, the Ministry of Interior last year directed all provincial officials to approve any programs or grassroots events amid a broader crackdown that saw the political opposition dissolved and civil society scrutinised.
Phnom Penh Governor Khoung Sreng and Deputy Governor Mean Channayda referred questions to spokesman Met Measpheakdey, who could not be reached.
Rong Chhun, a consultant with Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, and IDEA President Vorn Pov said they would join the march.
However, Tep Kim Vannary, president of the Cambodian Federation of Independent Trade Union, said she and other pro-government unions will congregate at the Labour Ministry for May Day celebrations.