Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Support, protest for Hun Sen as groups attack each other



Support, protest for Hun Sen as groups attack each other

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen (right) shakes hands with former leader of CNRP Sam Rainsy during a meeting at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh in 2013. afp

Support, protest for Hun Sen as groups attack each other

During Prime Minister Hun Sen's official visit to the UN, rallies in support and against him took place over the weekend as planned, with supporters of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) attacking each other.

Before his arrival in the US, a government spokesperson expected "thousands" of CPP supporters to gather in a rally to support Hun Sen and his delegation to the UN, at which he gave a speech on Friday. The prime minister was also expected to meet CPP supporters in the coming days.

Former president of CNRP, Sam Rainsy, had previously announced that he would lead the protest in New York, but later cancelled his plans to protest, claiming he had other matters to attend to elsewhere. This left former CNRP deputy president Eng Chhai Eang to lead the rally instead.

The CNRP's supporters continue to call Hun Sen a “dictator” and criticise the CPP-led government for the Supreme Court dissolving the CNRP and imprisoning Kem Sokha.

In a video clip posted on Facebook, a CNRP supporter is seen shouting at Hun Sen to “respect human rights and adhere to the 1991 Paris Peace Accords”.

CPP supporter Chan Sithon stood with other CPP supporters to welcome Hun Sen. He said the government brings peace and development to Cambodia.

“From our perspectives, living in the US, we support Hun Sen and the current government, for they walk a path that brings prosperity, peace, political stability, and development for the future,” Sithon said.

Speaking with Cambodians in New York on Saturday, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed gratitude to Cambodians who live abroad and continue to support him.

'Raise your banners'

Hun Sen continued to attack former leaders of the CNRP who simultaneously led protests against him. Hun Sen mockingly claimed that they did not even have 50 people to protest against him.

“The protesters said it is going to be a massive rally. I was in shock. Their rally was very unprofessional and all over the place. In the beginning, there were only 30 protesters against me. Then the number reached 50,” he said.

“Don’t worry, I will take selfies in the afternoon. You want to meet me, support the CPP, the government and me personally for working hard for all Cambodians,” he added.

Sam Rainsy posted a video on Facebook, which said: “We gathered in front of the UN headquarters to urge the UN and the international community not to recognise the illegitimate government led by Hun Sen, a dictator and a traitor,” he said.

Sam Rainsy is attending a meeting of global liberal parties in South Africa and apologised to his supporters for being absent from the protest. He said he “supported the protest in spirit”.

“All protesters – please raise your banners, raise your voices together through loudspeakers and gather to show our compassion for Cambodians who reside in Cambodia that doesn’t have free speech and live under pressure and constant threats.

“Ethnic Cambodians who live in the US and Canada will not be afraid of Hun Sen. We demand the release of Kem Sokha immediately without conditions. We demand the CNRP to be back to normal,” he said.

Asked about Hun Sen's strategy to meet his Cambodian supporters abroad, associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Sophal Ear, said Rainsy’s absence at the UN rally might mean that a political deadlock is being addressed behind doors.

“Rainsy was a no-show at the UN Plaza so this means something? Didn't Rainsy just exchange hellos with [Hun Sen] on Facebook Live or something like that? Who knows, maybe they could all be hugging soon in Phnom Penh."

“We all know that at the highest levels, while the public hears acrimony and yelling, privately there can always be different discussions and the familial,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Time to Rise by rapper, chapei legend is viral hit with ancient-modern mix

    Kong Nay is known internationally as the master of the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian instrument resembling a long-necked lute or guitar with two nylon strings that he was already playing professionally by the age of 15. Nay is sometimes referred to as the Cambodian