Supporters for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party have canceled a planned demonstration, following protests against Prime Minister Hun Sen in the US.
Hundreds of anti-Hun Sen protesters gathered outside the Sunnylands Estate, in Rancho Mirage, California, on Monday, where Hun Sen and other ASEAN leaders are meeting with US President Barack Obama.
But a counter-protest by the pro-CPP Youth Alliance Group was canceled in Cambodia, in part because the US demonstrations were not seen as a legitimate threat to the CPP, Sok Eysan, a spokesman for the ruling party, said. Sok Eysan said the CPP did not dictate the decisions of the Youth Alliance, but that they had come to the decision on their own.
“They saw that the situation [demonstration] in the US was not strong, so they decided not stage a demonstration,” he said.
Demonstrators outside Sunnylands on Monday demanded an end to injustice under Hun Sen, calling him a “killer” and demanding the release of pro-opposition supporters, including the aged senator Hong Sokhour and activist Meach Sovannara.
Counter-protesters had earlier threatened to gather outside the headquarters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party if such a demonstration took place in California. The threat prompted statements from the Rescue Party reiterating the importance of non-violent demonstrations.
Rescue Party spokesman Yem Ponhearith said the party had been concerned that a counter-protest could lead to violence—particularly following the severe beatings of two opposition lawmakers following a similar demonstration last year. “After that violent demonstration, we are still concerned,” he said.