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Sonando vows to go ahead with protest

Mam Sonando, owner of Beehive Radio, talks during International Women’s Day in Phnom Penh earlier this month
Mam Sonando, owner of Beehive Radio, talks during International Women’s Day in Phnom Penh earlier this month. Heng Chivoan

Sonando vows to go ahead with protest

Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando yesterday promised to once again defy Phnom Penh Municipal Hall and go ahead with an unsanctioned March 31 protest against the Ministry of Information’s refusal to give him a television licence and more relay frequencies to extend the reach of his radio network.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday that permission for the protest had been denied because authorities were still looking into the cause of violence breaking out at recent demonstrations, a rationale that Sonando dismissed as pure “pretext”.

“The authorities use the same pretext to refuse us our rights, including the right to get real information about the goings-on in society and the world,” Sonando said. “Will we keep living without our rights like this?”
Sonando went on to say that he would go ahead with a March 31 demonstration “for [people’s] rights and freedom since they do not want to live under the dictatorial government pressure anymore”.

However, City Hall’s Dimanche said that Sonando and his supporters would face “administrative measures” if they went ahead with the protest.

“We asked them to wait until the investigation procedures on the incidents in the previous demonstrations is finished and the results are released, then we will let them gather and set up a demonstration at the Freedom Park,” he said.

Sonando’s last rally against the Ministry of Information in January was ended when a column of military police and untrained Daun Penh district security guards charged peaceful protesters, beating participants and observers with batons.

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