SUPPORTERS of embattled opposition leader Sam Rainsy gathered in North American capitals this weekend to protest what they called the deteriorating state of democracy in Cambodia.
Organised as a response to the National Assembly’s decision last month to strip Sam Rainsy of his parliamentary immunity, nearly 200 people protested on Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, while a smaller group demonstrated in front of the Cambodian embassy in Washington on Saturday, organisers said.
Pretty Ma, secretary general of the Sam Rainsy Party North America, said opposition politicians in the Kingdom face “mistreatment and harassment”.
“The way immunity can be easily revoked from the people’s representatives is something almost unheard of here in the West,” he wrote in an email. “It’s overdone, truly abusive and ridiculous.”
The protesters urged Canada and the US to deny entry visas to “any corrupted official, including any human rights violators”.
Sam Rainsy, who is currently in Europe, was stripped of his immunity last month after an October incident in which he uprooted six wooden posts in Svay Rieng province along the border with Vietnam.
Villagers had claimed the Vietnamese were encroaching on their land.
The Vietnamese government, however, reacted with outrage, and the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the act “perverse”.