Protests for PM in Japan

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Ben Sokhean

AF­TER a smooth visit to the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly (UNGA) in New York last week de­spite threats of mass op­po­si­tion demon­stra­tions, Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen is set for an­other visit – and an­other planned protest – in Japan.

The prime min­is­ter will at­tend the 10th Mekong-Japan Sum­mit in Tokyo from Oc­to­ber 8-9 to dis­cuss ways to im­prove in­fra­struc­ture in the Mekong re­gion.

Hay Vanna, who heads Cam­bo­dia Na­tional Res­cue Move­ment (CNRM) in Japan, told The Post on Wed­nes­day that Cam­bo­di­ans liv­ing in Japan will join the protest and rally in Tokyo to protest Hun Sen’s visit.

“We plan to hold a protest against Hun Sen on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 7, at 10:30am. We ex­pect par­tic­i­pa­tion from Cam­bo­di­ans who are un­happy with the il­le­gal govern­ment and prime min­is­ter who is go­ing to rep­re­sent Cam­bo­dia at the Mekong-Japan Sum­mit,” he said.

Vanna ex­pressed hope t hat 1,000 protesters would turn up in Japan. He urged t he in­ter­na­tiona l com­mu­nity to con­tinue putting pres­sure on Hun Sen’s govern­ment to rev ive democ­racy in the King­dom.

“The goal of our protest is just to tell the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially Japan, that as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Cam­bo­di­ans liv­ing in Cam­bo­dia and Japan, we do not recog­nise the July 29 elec­tions.

“There­fore, we do not recog­nise the prime min­is­ter and the govern­ment formed through the elec­tions. We want the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and Japan to un­der­stand our con­cerns,” he claimed.

Coun­cil of Min­is­ters spokesman Phay Siphan said on Wed­nes­day that there will also be sup­port­ers wait­ing to wel­come Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen in Japan.

He said any op­po­si­tion protest will not af fect t he v isit of t he govern­ment del­e­ga­tion.

Siphan dubbed the op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers as a “rub­bish group” whose job is to cause dis­or­der on the streets to dis­rupt a govern­ment del­e­ga­tion that rep­re­sents the na­tion as a whole.

“The protesters are just a small num­ber of peo­ple who al­ways protest the royal govern­ment’s work. It will not af­fect [the visit] be­cause they are just rub­bish on the street.

“They have no in­flu­ence be­cause Samdech [Hun Sen] is the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Cam­bo­dia. He is an im­por­tant part of the dis­cus­sion, un­like the rub­bish group act­ing on the street,” he said.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan told The Post on Wed­nes­day that Cam­bo­dia does not need a for­eign coun­try to act as a ref­eree as the King­dom is al­ready on a demo­cratic path.

“Democ­racy in Cam­bo­dia is func­tion­ing smoothly, and the coun­try still has great po­ten­tial and [rapid] de­vel­op­ment,” Eysan said.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Hang Vi­tou said he sees no in­flu­ence or ef­fec­tive­ness in the op­po­si­tion protest abroad.

“I think the protests have lit­tle in­flu­ence and is in­ef­fec­tive in mak­ing the govern­ment change its stance,” he said.

How­ever, Vi­tou re­mained op­ti­mistic about Japan’s in­ten­tion of re­viv­ing democ­racy in the King­dom.

“Please do not for­get the good in­ten­tion of Japan, which not only co­op­er­ates with Cam­bo­dia on the eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal fronts but also works with Cam­bo­dia on the democrati­sa­tion process,” he said.

VIREAK MAI

Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen and Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in­spect an hon­our guard at the Peace Palace in Ph­nom Penh in 2013.

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