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Cambodian Opposition Learns Non-Violent Protest Tactics

PHNOM PENH - About 1,000 members of the Cambodian opposition have taken part in non-violent protest training for their upcoming mass rally against the results of July's election.

Officials for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Wednesday had their supporters practice how to react non-violently to police provocations, spot infiltrators in their ranks and avoid the use of abusive language.

After the session, some were asked to come on stage to demonstrate what they had learned, with other members of the opposition portraying security forces.

The government has deployed troops in the Cambodian capital before the planned demonstration and has warned about the rally turning violent.

But Kem Sokha, CNRP vice president, says a peaceful protest is the goal.

“Non-violent protest is of great benefit. It benefits not only the protesters, but also all parties involved to have safety and everybody will win.”

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, CNRP president, said it is critical for his supporters to come out and protest the election results.

“If you disagree with the election result, please come out in high number to show that we disagree with this fraudulent and unfair result. We do not agree with it. We are not satisfied. We want nothing, but the whole truth.”

The training comes as the Constitutional Council has denied an opposition request to recount votes from last month's election in 116 polling stations in Battambang province.

The opposition has said it won the July parliamentary election, blaming nationwide vote rigging for swaying the outcome. But the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) says it won the vote and a majority of the legislature.