News / Asia

Cambodian Group Ends Protests Over Vietnam Remarks

Buddhist monks and other protesters are seen gathered near the Vietnamese embassy during a protest in Phnom Penh, Aug. 13, 2014.
Buddhist monks and other protesters are seen gathered near the Vietnamese embassy during a protest in Phnom Penh, Aug. 13, 2014.
Heng Reaksmey

Three days of protests in front of Vietnam's embassy in Phnom Penh ended peacefully Wednesday, but there has been no response from Vietnamese officials over remarks concerning a part of the southern Mekong Delta that used to be part of Cambodia but was given to Vietnam at the end of French colonial rule.

The more than 100 protesters, including monks, began demonstrations Monday to demand that an embassy spokesman apologize for saying recently that the delta region historically belonged to Vietnam.

Tran Van Thong, the Vietnamese spokesman who made the remarks, could not be reach for comment; but, the embassy issued a statement last month calling such demonstrations interference in Vietnam's territory.

The loss of the area to Vietnam is a sensitive issue for many Cambodians, even though the government in Phnom Penh does not dispute the current borders.  The area is still home to a large population of ethnic Cambodians.

A monk protester, who asked not to be named, told VOA's Khmer Service that the demonstrators will continue their calls for an apology.

“If Vietnam wants to quickly end this protest, they should come out to publicly apologize to the Cambodian people.  I won't give up and [will] not be intimidated by the threat from the Ministry of Interior,” he said.

About 100 Cambodian riot police blocked the main street in front of the embassy this week, but there were no reports of clashes or arrests.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Khmer Service.

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