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Protests for PM in Japan

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

Protests for PM in Japan

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 that 1,000 protesters would turn up in Japan. He urged the international community to continue putting pressure on Hun Sen’s government to revive 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 affect the visit of the 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.

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