PHNOM PENH - Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday called for an end to demonstrations against top opposition official Kem Sokha, who is under fire for allegedly denying atrocities at a Khmer Rouge prison.
Hun Sen said in a public speech Thursday the demonstrations calling for an apology for his alleged remarks should be postponed until after the election.
Kem Sokha, vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, has denied allegations that he made claims that the atrocities of the torture Tuol Sleng were staged by Vietnamese forces after they ousted the Khmer Rouge from power.
Rights observers say a demonstration staged on Sunday—supported by Hun Sen in earlier speeches—appeared to be aimed at discrediting the opposition ahead of the July 28 national elections.
Sunday’s demonstration was led by outspoken Khmer Rouge survivor Chhum Mey, who has called for an apology for the alleged remarks. In his speech Thursday, Hun Sen call for more demonstrations to be suspended.
“To enable a favorable environment for the election, I would like to appeal to Uncle Chhum Mey and protesters everywhere to stop or postpone demonstrations until after the election before taking any other action,” he said.
Chhum Mey told VOA Khmer Thursday more demonstrations ahead of the election will cease. “I will probably file a complaint against Kem Sokha instead,” he said.
Rescue Party spokesman Nhem Ponharith said Thursday whether the demonstrations continue is up to participants. “But consider the problem, the dangers and the questions for reconciliation for the country,” he said.