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Planned rally too large, city officials say

Planned rally too large, city officials say

City Hall yesterday rejected the opposition party’s request to hold a Sunday rally with 20,000 supporters, saying it was unable to provide security for participants.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has scheduled a “party congress” to be held in Freedom Park on Sunday, with a mass demonstration scheduled for later this month.

Speaking after a meeting held between the municipality and the opposition, City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said officials had deemed they could allow a maximum of 10,000 protesters and that the party must request permission from the Interior Ministry if it planned to exceed that number.

“At the rally, they must not use [the] forum to attack the King or the royal government,” Dimanche said, adding that the party was instructed not to march.

CNRP spokesman Yem Ponharith said it would be impossible to limit the number as “people participate at their will”.

And, he added, while the party had no desire to attack the King, it was within their rights to criticise the government during a public forum.

The party was now preparing a letter to send to the Ministry of Interior, he said.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, said he could not comment until he had received the note.

Party president Sam Rainsy is set to return today from a two-day diplomatic mission to several Asean countries aimed at solving the ongoing political crisis, a CNRP spokesman said.

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