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Demonstrations Stem from Victims: Opposition

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy told the National Assembly on Tuesday that if the ruling party wants to reduce demonstrations, it should cooperate with the opposition.

The Assembly is debating a controversial law on demonstrations that opponents say gives the ruling party opportunities to crack down on legitimate assembly.

Sam Rainsy said the opposition acts as the voice of victims, but that cooperation from the government would mean “no demonstrations.” The opposition was willing to work with the government to share information and end demonstrations, he said.

Nuth Sa Ann, secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior, welcomed the idea, but said in the past cooperation has not been forthcoming.

The ministry needed information from all sides, including non-governmental organizations, he said, but “we never receive that.”

Nhiek Bun Chhay, a lawmaker for the Funcinpec party, said talks should take place before a situation leads to demonstrations, which can be sensitive and spread into instability.

National security would be improved by reducing demonstrations, he said.

The Assembly concluded debate on the fourth of six chapters of the draft law Tuesday, with 92 ruling Cambodian People’s Party lawmakers approving and 14 opposition lawmakers voting against the chapter.