As Protesters Assemble, Hun Sen Warns Their Relatives in Cambodia

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Hun Sen arrives in Brussels on December 12, 2022. (Hun Sen’s Facebook page)
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A former opposition lawmaker said around 200 to 300 people were expected to protest against Prime Minister Hun Sen in Brussels, with the premier warning people of repercussions back home.

Prime Minister Hun Sen is in Brussels, Belgium, to attend an Asean-E.U. summit, and made a daylong visit to France as well. Men Sothavarin, former exiled CNRP lawmaker, said opposition-aligned people would protest against Hun Sen in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon European time.

He added that 200-300 people were expected, mostly from France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.

“They will demand rights and freedoms for the Cambodian people,” Sothavarin said. “This is a protest against him hurting the people.”

Former CNRP president Sam Rainsy called for the protests but, according to Sothavarin, the exiled opposition figure would not attend the protests because he was in the U.S.

While in Brussels on December 12, Hun Sen warned potential protesters that he would put their photos up at the Phnom Penh International Airport and that he would identify their relatives in Cambodia.

“I want to know your face and want to find out about your family in Cambodia. All of your group, don’t rely on living overseas in France or in Europe,” he said.

Hun Sen was also annoyed about alleged rumors that his son and heir apparent Hun Manet had carried $5 million to Europe to give to ruling-party supporters.

Around a dozen European parliamentarians also signed a letter dated December 13 asking senior E.U. officials to push Hun Sen on human rights issues in the country, and “strongly” reiterated their demand for targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes against Cambodian political and military leaders.

Additional reporting by Ananth Baliga

Hun Sen meets Emmanuel Macron in France on December 13, 2022. (Hun Sen's Facebook page)
Hun Sen meets Emmanuel Macron in France on December 13, 2022. (Hun Sen’s Facebook page)

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