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Minority Group Supporters to Hold Demonstration on VN Official's Visit

An organization supporting the rights of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom ethnic group in southern Vietnam plans to hold a demonstration Friday in front of the National Assembly, to coincide with the visit of Vietnam's National Assembly chairman.

The demonstration will continue as planned, despite a denial for permission to assemble from Phnom Penh authorities earlier this week, the group said.

Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong is scheduled for an official visit April 25 through April 28, at the invitation of Cambodian National Assembly president Heng Samrin.

The Kampuchea Krom Association alleges Vietnamese authorities have persecuted members of the ethnic group, including incarceration of monks the group is demanding be released.

A spokesman at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh Thursday denied any monks have been arrested, nor that rights of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom were being abused.

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom people, who are culturally linked to Cambodia but live in Vietnam, are a highly politicized issue in Cambodia, and recent demonstrations preceeded the mysterious death of one monk in Cambodia earlier this year.