Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy calls for mass rally

Rainsy calls for mass rally

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy speaks to CNRP supporters and Boeung Kak lake community activists in Phnom Penh.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy speaks to CNRP supporters and Boeung Kak lake community activists in Phnom Penh. VIREAK MAI

Rainsy calls for mass rally

During a whirlwind visit to Boeung Kak lake yesterday, opposition leader Sam Rainsy declared his party will continue pushing for the UN’s involvement in a review of last month’s election results, which the Cambodia National Rescue Party and election monitors claim was rife with irregularities.

After a rock star reception at the entrance to the Boeung Kak lake community on Monivong Boulevard, Rainsy bounded on foot, Pied Piper-like, to the home of activist Tep Vanny in Village 22, with hundreds trailing him.

It was there he vowed to hold a rally to keep fighting for victory and made a string of promises to supporters.

“Tomorrow at 4pm, we will gather at Freedom Park to hold a public meeting demanding the UN be involved in resolving election issues that have prevented us being declared the winner,” he said. “I call for everyone to join this meeting and support my party in securing victory.”

After rejecting the provisional results of July 28’s national election, the CNRP called for an international review of “irregularities”.

However, it boycotted an investigation over the weekend, citing the National Election Commission’s reluctance to have input from outsiders such as the UN.

Speaking after Rainsy exited Boeung Kak, CNRP lawmaker-elect Ho Vann urged all those who had not been allowed to vote to attend today’s rally.

“This meeting will cover how we recount the ballot and maybe even how we re-vote,” he said.

During Rainsy’s speech – which had the tone of both an election campaign and a victory address – the party president promised villagers he would resolve their land dispute and others across the country “just as soon as the UN declares we have won and I have become prime minister”.

“And we will demand that [imprisoned Boeung Kak activist] Yorm Bopha is released from prison,” he said. “The authorities and the company [Shukaku Inc] have been grabbing land and threatening people. They have been beating them with electric batons, spraying them with water cannons and arresting them. It’s injustice for the women of this community.”

Rainsy added that the CNRP, if it was awarded the election, would take legal action against those responsible for filling in the lake.

"I will find the masterminds who filled in this lake – we will arrest them and send them to jail."

Rainsy wasn’t the only one mobbed on arrival. Residents of varying ages rushed to have their photos taken with lawmakers-elect Mu Sochua and Prince Sisowath Thomico.

Sochua said Boeung Kak was one of many land disputes that had to be solved immediately.

“Re-evaluate the concessions – not just in Phnom Penh, but everywhere. It’s easy to do this. The lake is finished ... but the poor and rich must live together in one city,” she said.

Many land disputes across the Kingdom, including the one at Boeung Kak, have involved companies with links to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Likely contributing to Rainsy’s popularity in the capital was the CNRP’s pre-election pledge to end to land disputes that, according to NGOs, have resulted in the eviction of more than 10 per cent of Phnom Penh since 2000. The party this year gained from five to seven of the city’s 12 National Assembly seats, based on preliminary results.

Voicing support for Rainsy was villager Phan Chhunreth, one of 13 Boeung Kak women imprisoned after a protest last year.

“I hope when Sam Rainsy becomes prime minister, I will receive a land title and live in Boeung Kak in peace,” she said.


  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to