PHNOM PENH - The president and vice president of the opposition have returned to Cambodia from trips abroad, just one day ahead of planned demonstrations for International Human Rights Day.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party is calling for a march through the capital and other major cities across the country, despite warnings from authorities.
The demonstrations are in part to mark Human Rights Day and are also meant as a call for credible investigations into July’s national elections, which the opposition says it would have won were it not for fraudulence and irregularities.
Party president Sam Rainsy returned from Europe, while vice president Kem Sokha returned from the United States, where they were seeking more support for the opposition.
They were greeted on arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport by a group of about 100 supporters.
“It is time for us to stand up and demand our rights,” one supporter said as she took pictures of the leaders’ arrival.
The Ministry of Interior has warned in an announcement that it will not allow a march through the capital, but instead advised a “celebration” without marching.
However, Kem Sokha said Monday the party had informed the authorities of its plan to march in advance and will adhere to that plan.
“We will march,” he said. “The authorities have an obligation to protect the demonstrators’ safety.”
Other demonstrations are planned in the provinces of Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap. The opposition says it will continue to hold demonstrations every Sunday to demand a credible investigation into allegations of election irregularities.
Sam Rainsy said Monday that Cambodians and members of the international community want to see a resolution to the political crisis that has continued since the election.
“They want to seek a solution, because they think that Cambodia has a serious crisis,” he said.