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Published on : Wednesday, November 27, 2013
In an effort to avoid any negative fallout on the tourism sector the Cambodian Tourism Minister, Thong Khon, on Tuesday urged the main opposition party to avoid violence when it holds a mass rally next month in the tourist destination of Siem Reap.
“In democratic societies, demonstrations are common, but the agitation must be nonviolent and in accordance with the Demonstration Law,” he told reporters. “If violence bursts out, it will affect the country’s tourism industry.”Siem Reap houses the Angkor Wat Temple, a World Heritage site which attracted more than 2 million foreign visitors last year.
The minister made the remarks one day after Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) announced that it would hold a mass rally on Dec. 10 in the northwestern city of Siem Reap to call for an inquiry into the July election that handed victory to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party.
“If the rally occurs as scheduled, I would like to call on all protestors to maintain dignity and public order in order to avoid any violence that could hurt the country’s largest tourist destination,” Thong Khon said.
The CNRP has held several mass demonstrations in Phnom Penh after the election. One of the events in mid-September turned violent as protestors threw stones at police who in return fired tear gas and water cannon, killing a protestor.CNRP spokesman Yem Ponharith said that the purpose of the forthcoming rally was the same as the previous ones–probe into the allegations of serious fraud and irregularities during the July election.
“We will continue boycotting parliament as long as there is no independent investigation into the poll irregularities,” he said.The CNRP also announced that it would hold another mass protest on Dec. 15 at the Freedom Park in Phnom Penh and from Dec. 15 onwards, it would hold mass demonstrations every Sunday.