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No nukes Khmer-style

No nukes Khmer-style

The Editor,

I was most disappointed by your lack of coverage of the July

14 demonstration, held outside the French embassy, against the French

government's plans to resume nuclear testing in the Pacific.

This is an

issue that many in the local and international community feel strongly about.

With minimal advance publicity, over 100 people turned out to vent their

disapproval, including many French nationals, who chose not to attend the

Bastille day celebrations held inside the closely-guarded embassy enclave. It

was great to see so many Cambodian Buddhist monks and nuns attending, as well as

the many people who made placards in various languages, and handed out leaflets

in English, French and Khmer to those attending the embassy function. Some came

dressed entirely in white, with white face paint. I noticed one or two of your

reporters there too. As expected, there was heavy security from Cambodian police

and French security personnel, and a sizable crowd of onlookers.

I have

attended many such protests in New Zealand and Australia, and this seemed one of

the most colorful, friendly and multi-cultural I have ever seen. We did not have

anything like the thousands and tens of thousands who demonstrated in New

Zealand, Australia, France, the Pacific and elsewhere, but I think we made our

point, registering our condemnation of Chirac's disregard for world opinion, the

environment and the global disarmament process. It is fifty years since

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and ten years since French terrorists blew up the

Greenpeace flagship "Rainbow Warrior" in Auckland harbor. Many of us, Cambodian

nationals and those foreigners resident here, do not wish for any repetitions of

such occurrences. Surely this warrants more than a passing reference in your

"Gecko" column, congratulating the French for magnanimously allowing the protest

to take place.

- Katerina Julian, Phnom Penh.

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