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Cambodia bans opposition's protests

Updated: 2014-01-04 15:21
( Xinhua)

PHNOM PENH - Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Pa Socheatvong on Saturday banned the country's main opposition party from holding any protests in the capital, citing security concerns.

"To ensure social security and public order, the Phnom Penh Municipality decides not to allow the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to continue holding demonstrations at the Freedom Park and marching through streets in the city from January 4 onwards until the security situation has returned to normal," Pa Socheatvong said in a letter to CNRP's President Sam Rainsy.

He said in recent days, inciting activities have led to violence that claimed lives and caused severe destruction to public and private properties.

"These violent activities have seriously affected social security, safety and public order," he said.

Security forces have been sent to the Freedom Park on Saturday morning to disperse opposition's protesters. As a result, all protesters were kicked out of the park.

Opposition CNRP's leader Sam Rainsy had conducted a new round of anti-government daily protests since December 15 and had led thousands of supporters through streets in capital Phnom Penh to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen and a re-vote.

Moreover, since December 25, Sam Rainsy, along with his accomplices, had incited thousands of garment workers to join his anti- government protests by promising to double their minimum wage to 160 US dollars if his party comes to power.

The ban on the opposition's protest came after a deadly clash between the anti-riot police and hundreds of striking garment workers blocking a street on the outskirts of the capital Phnom Penh on Friday. The clash left four protesters dead, 26 injured, and 11 others arrested.

The garment sector, the kingdom's largest foreign exchange earner, generated 5 billion US dollars in the first 11 months of 2013. The sector comprised 900 garment and shoe factories employing about 600,000 workers.

The country closed all the factories since Wednesday last week after six pro-opposition trade unions and the opposition party led thousands of workers to go on strikes to demand the government to double the monthly minimum wage in the garment sector to 160 US dollars from the current 80 US dollars.

Political dispute between Hun Sen's ruling party and Sam Rainsy 's opposition party has persisted since the July's disputed election.

The July's poll results showed that Hun Sen's ruling party won a majority of votes, taking 68 parliamentary seats against 55 seats for the opposition party, but the opposition refused to accept the outcome, claiming serious irregularities and has boycotted parliament since then.

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