Group Warns of Protests During Hun Manet Visit

A Cambodian-American activist group, which last month staged a protest against Prime Minister Hun Sen during his first official state visit to the U.S., has warned of the possibility of further demonstrations if the premier’s eldest son visits the U.S. next month as planned.

In a letter published on Facebook yesterday, Vibol Touch, the president of the Cambodia-America Alliance, said Hun Manet’s visit to the U.S.—at the invitation of a Cambodian-American civic organization—would be met with boycotts and protests in Long Beach, California, and Lowell, Massachusetts.

“We are dismayed that Cambodia Town committee members have invited General Hun as a special guest to the annual Khmer Parade in April,” Mr. Touch writes in the letter, which is addressed to the mayors and city councilors of Long Beach and Lowell, as well as Cambodia Town—an organization that advocates for Cambodian businesses and culture in Long Beach.

“Your constituents are tormented by your decisions and have made plans to boycott and protest any event that includes General Hun,” the letter says.

Veasna Roeun, vice president of the Cambodia-America Alliance, said it was not yet clear what form demonstrations against Lieutenant General Manet would take.

“At the current moment, Khmers from these two communities are still deciding on the best and appropriate response to ensure their message is loud and clear,” he said in a Facebook message.

Lt. Gen. Manet could not be reached for comment yesterday.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said that while it was the protesters’ right to organize a demonstration, he found their apprehension over the visit misguided.

“His Excellency Hun Manet will not bring an army to fight there,” Mr. Eysan said. “He will be meeting and talking to brothers and sisters to inform them about the real situation in Cambodia in order to prevent a number of bad individuals from exaggerating and saying bad things about the Cambodian government.”

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