News / Asia

Cambodia Opposition Calls for Outside Pressure on Government

Supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), gather during a protest at the Freedom Park in central Phnom Penh, Oct. 24, 2013.
Supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), gather during a protest at the Freedom Park in central Phnom Penh, Oct. 24, 2013.
Robert Carmichael
Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered in Cambodia's capital this week calling for an independent probe of alleged election fraud, and for the United States and Britain, among other countries, to weigh in on the post-election deadlock. Protesters have come to the capital from all parts of the country.

The three-day rally in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park was called by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, or CNRP.

Protesters want an independent investigation into the bitterly contested July ballot, and continue to stress their opposition to the newly formed government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, which they maintain is illegal.

On Wednesday around 10,000 people marched to deliver a petition thumb-printed by more than two million people to the United Nations office, in which they again called for an investigation.

On Thursday, thousands more marched to the embassies of the United States and the United Kingdom to deliver letters asking those countries to get involved in resolving the political impasse.

Protester Ruon Sambath, a 67-year-old farmer, said as far as he was concerned, Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People's Party, or CPP, rigged the election result. He wanted the U.N. and countries like the United States to push for an investigation.

He said, “This is what voters wanted when they cast their ballots - they made the decision to change the leader but in the end the party that lost still managed to win.”

  • A young protester calls for Prime Minister Hun Sen to step down on the final day of a three-day rally organized by opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, Phnom Penh, Oct. 25, 2013. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • High school students peek through a school gate to cheer and take pictures of a protest in Phnom Penh, Oct. 25, 2013. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • A young female protester who passed out due to heat was helped by fellow protesters, Phnom Penh, Oct. 25, 2013. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • Opposition leader Sam Rainsy leads supporters to submit petitions to Western embassies calling for an independent investigation into alleged election irregularities, Phnom Penh, Oct 24, 2013. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • Opposition supporters wave national flags of some Western countries who were signatory parties to the 22 year old Paris Peace Agreement, Phnom Penh, Oct 24, 2013. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • A Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) supporter wears a ribbon that reads “When there is justice, there is peace,” Phnom Penh, Oct. 23, 2013. (Khoun Theara/VOA Khmer)
  • Phnom Penh residents came out to cheer protesters when they marched by, Oct. 23, 2013. (Khoun Theara/VOA Khmer)
  • Buddhist monks took part in the opposition protest despite warning from head monks to stay away from political rally, Phnom Penh, Oct. 23, 2013. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • Construction workers on scaffolding ceased their work to watch opposition protest and take pictures, Phnom Penh, Oct. 23, 2013. (Khoun Theara/VOA Khmer)
  • Protesters return to Freedom Park where some of them spend the night, Phnom Penh, Oct. 23, 2013. (Khoun Theara/VOA Khmer)

In July’s ballot, the ruling CPP won 68 seats in the 123-seat National Assembly, while the opposition nearly doubled its representation with 55 seats. The opposition, however, has refused to take up its seats because of the alleged electoral fraud. The ruling CPP insists it won the election fairly and has rejected calls for international involvement.

The U.S. and other Western countries have called on all sides to engage in peaceful dialogue, but have not publicly taken sides in the election dispute.

Protester Kim San, who is in her sixties, said her four children were unable to vote after their names were removed from the voters’ roll. That was a common complaint in this election.

A man from Kampong Speu province in central Cambodia said he lost his land to a well-connected family, and the courts then failed him. He said the country needed leaders that people can trust.

He said, “We are here because all of us want a leader who can help the people in Cambodia, an honest person who does not support the dishonest people.”

Many at the rally said they have had enough of longtime Prime Minister Hun Sen’s rule. While that sentiment is expected at an opposition rally, expressing such thoughts publicly just five years ago would have been unthinkable. Now it is commonplace.

An Choy, 58, travelled from Mondolkiri province in the northeast. Until recently, he said, his district had forests and natural resources such as gold. Not any longer.

He said, “All the gold and the trees and the forests in my area are now gone - in Chong Plas commune and Khao Seima district. And in another area of Mondolkiri province they will be gone soon. And that’s all because of the government."

People like An Choy, Ruon Sambath and Kim San - farmers in their 50s and 60s - have long been the bedrock of support for the ruling party. But after years in power, and mounting accusations of bad governance, there are growing signs that the CPP’s rural support base appears to be eroding.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: hoa minh truong from: western Autralia
October 27, 2013 7:25 AM
Vietnamese could be ashamed while seeing the Cambodian protest freely against government. In history, Vietnam communist state was as master of Cambodia since the Vietcong armed force threw out Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh in 1979 then set up a pro-Vietnam government by a former Khmer Rouge high rank member, previously Mr. Hen Somrim and later on Mr. Hun Sen.
The Cambodian show the independence, democracy, but Vietnamese haven't, almost people scare the communist party, even though Vietnam regime to be considered in among the most corrupted country in the world. Unfortunately, in Vietnam, sometimes there are some protest, mostly oppose against the China by the fishermen killed and China occupied the water, including the archipelagos as Faracel and Spratly. The most demonstrates congregated about couple hundred people, they were forced by Vietcong police to stay out the China Embassy at Hanoi..that means Vietnam communist is like the China's administrative staff. Moreover, the the most protests lead by the former Vietcong or retirees, so people fear to be trapped, because in record, Vietcong currently deployed the fake organizations, after 1975, ten thousand resistant members killed. Vietnamese have to learn from Cambodian, actually the Vietcong regime is the worst government. Where is the traditional spirit built up since 4 thousands fighting against the invasion and it foreign hand?
Hoa Minh Truong.
( author of 3 books: the dark journey, good evening Vietnam & from laborer to author)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs