News / Asia

    Cambodian Opposition Wraps Up Election Protest Rally

    Supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) attend a protest march along a street to the foreign embassies in central Phnom Penh, Oct. 25, 2013.
    Supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) attend a protest march along a street to the foreign embassies in central Phnom Penh, Oct. 25, 2013.
    VOA News
    Cambodian opposition supporters have wrapped up three days of peaceful protests against the results of this year's parliamentary elections.

    Led by opposition leader Sam Rainsy, an estimated 20,000 cheering demonstrators marched to several foreign embassies in Phnom Penh asking for international intervention in the Cambodian political standoff. A petition with nearly two million thumb prints was delivered to the missions of France, China, the U.S., Britain and other countries.

    • 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)

    Although official results show the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party made substantial gains in the election, opposition lawmakers have refused to take their seats in parliament, claiming the ruling Cambodian People's Party committed voter fraud.

    Opposition leader Sam Rainsy told VOA the opposition is committed to a full and fair inquiry into the election results.

    "What we really want is truth. We want everybody to recognize the truth; even the Cambodian People's Party must accept this fact. Therefore, we only want an independent investigation," he said.

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose rule was extended by the vote, says the election was free and fair, arguing the results were upheld by Cambodia's National Election Commission and Constitutional Court.

    The ruling party has rejected the idea of an international inquiry, but government spokesman Phay Siphan said officials did not try to prevent the opposition from taking the petition to foreign embassies.

    "In terms of pressure on foreign embassies, we, the government, has encouraged foreign embassies here to accept the opposition petitions and they can do whatever they think is right," he said.

    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.

    This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

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