Cambodia's ethnic Khmer Krom activists continue rally in front of Vietnamese Embassy
PHNOM PENH - Around 100 ethnic minority Khmer Krom monks and activists in Cambodia continued their rally in front of the Vietnamese Embassy here on Sunday, marking the 2nd day of a fresh protest against a Vietnamese diplomat.
The rally, expected to last until Wednesday, is to demand a Vietnamese diplomat to recognize that Kampuchea Krom, which is now a part of Vietnam, is Cambodia's former territory.
Protesters are rallying outside the embassy, which is fortified by riot police and heavy steel barricades. There is no report of violence even though those protesters gather without permission from the Phnom Penh Municipality.
On Saturday, the first day of the protest, activists set Vietnamese flags on fire outside the embassy.
The minority Khmer Krom community has launched a number of protests against Vietnam in recent months after Trung Van Thong, a spokesman for the Vietnamese embassy to Cambodia, commented on a radio program in June that South Vietnam, which protesters claim was once part of former Kampuchea Krom provinces, belonged to Vietnam "long" before France's official transfer of the land in 1949.
A protest leader Thach Sitha, president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association, said Saturday that the protest was to demand an apology from the Vietnamese diplomat and to urge him to accept the true history of the former Kampuchea Krom provinces.
He also called on the Cambodian people to boycott Vietnamese products if the diplomat still ignored the demand.
Xinhua Agency - October 5, 2014
Authorities promise crackdown on five-day Khmer Krom demonstration
Authorities have promised to crack down on a five-day Khmer Krom protest due to start this morning outside the Vietnamese Embassy and move to Freedom Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The groups are going ahead with their plans despite only having obtained permission from City Hall for a one-day protest at Freedom Park on Tuesday.
“We are still going ahead with our protest plan because until now we did not see or receive any official letter from the Ministry of Interior yet,” said Thach Setha, executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community organisation.
“According to our plan, there will be about 2000 people attending the protest.”
Activists continue to demand an apology from Vietnam related to controversial comments made by an embassy spokesman – who has since been removed – in June about the former Kampuchea Krom provinces in the Mekong delta.
City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said that the municipality had only granted permission for one day of protest at Freedom Park because the space had been requested by other groups today, tomorrow and Monday.
“If he is going to hold the protest tomorrow in front of the Vietnamese Embassy it will be considered that he is breaking the law and the government will take action,” Dimanche said.
By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea - The Phnom Penh Post - October 4, 2014