Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen indicated on Wednesday that the Freedom Park in Phnom Penh, the only authorized zone for protests, would be relocated to the outskirt of the capital next to a petrol warehouse along National Road 5, The Phnom Penh Post Online reported on Wednesday.
Speaking at the 18th Disabled Persons Day at Koh Pich, Hun Sen said he had been in contact with the Phnom Penh government about the plan to move Freedom Park somewhere less visible. He added that the relocation would help beautify the city.
Hun Sen told the audience he had instructed Interior Minister Sar Keng to look for a new Freedom Park. He, however, assured that the relocation of the protest zone would not impact on freedom of expressions.
City Hall spokesman Mean Chanyada said it was not yet settled where the new park would be located along National Road 5, but a large gas station not far from the Chroy Changvar bridge was the preferred choice.
He claimed that there had been too many complaints about protests held by land-grabbing victims and the Cambodia National Rescue Party. He cited a complaint from the banking community, expressing concern over safety and security during protests.
The opposition criticised the decision to relocate the park. CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the opposition disagreed with the relocation of Freedom Park because it is easily accessible to protesters.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)