Philip Ruddock, who served as Australia’s immigration minister between 1996 and 2003 and now serves as the government’s chief parliamentary whip, has described Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government as a “one-party state,” and said that Australia is concerned about the shooting deaths of five strike protesters in January.
Looking at a photograph that has been shared several hundred times on social media websites, it would appear that Hollywood couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, along with musician Wyclef Jean, have become the latest supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
In the photograph, Ms. Jolie—who has maintained close ties to Cambodia since adopting a Cambodian boy in 2002—Mr. Pitt and Mr. Jean, along with a group of young people, are seen holding up seven fingers, a sign used by CNRP supporters that denotes the party’s numerical placement on the ballot for the July 28 election.
The picture has become so popular on Khmer-language social media websites such as Facebook that it had received more than 500 “likes” and had been shared almost 350 times as of Monday evening.
CNRP politicians and supporters regularly flash the seven-finger sign during campaign rallies, chanting “B’do”—or change.
However, the photo was actually taken three years ago in Haiti where the stars were on a charity trip in support of the victims of a devastating earthquake. The Hollywood couple were on a visit to “Yele Haiti,” an NGO run by Mr. Jean, who is a member of the hip-hop group The Fugees and a native Haitian, who had chosen the number seven as a symbol for his organization.
Earlier this year, a doctored picture of U.S. President Barack Obama holding a CNRP sign was also widely circulated online.
The CNRP said the Angelina Jolie photograph, which has their party logo at the bottom, was not created or distributed by them.
“I do not know the picture, we did not take it,” CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Monday.
Commentators on Facebook, however, seemed to take the photograph as genuine and as an endorsement by the U.S. stars of the opposition.
Ms. Jolie, who holds Cambodian citizenship, entitling her to vote, is not known to have any political affiliation in Cambodia, though Prime Minister Hun Sen personally awarded her a passport in recognition of her charity work in Cambodia.
© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.