Cambodian opposition leaders appear in court on suspicion of inciting social unrest

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-14 17:01:51

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his deputy Kem Sokha as well as a union chief Rong Chhun faced court hearings on Tuesday on suspicion of inciting garment workers to stage a violent protest on January 3.

Hundreds of their supporters and human rights monitors had gathered outside the court's building as the court questioned the trio one by one.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Jan. 3 summoned the trio to question about their possible involvement in "inciting to commit crimes or conducting actions that cause serious chaos to social security."

The summonses came after a garment protest over low wage hike on Phnom Penh's outskirts on Jan. 3 turned violent, leaving four protesters shot dead, 26 injured and 11 arrested.

After being questioned by the court for several hours, the trio had left the court smiling broadly to their waiting supporters.

"We had answered the court's questions, we tell the truth," Sam Rainsy told the cheering crowd, vowing to continue struggling nonviolently to demand justice.

The court has not made any decision after their inquiries.

Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had held protests since December 15 to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen and a re-election after July's election handed victory to the Hun Sen's ruling party.

Starting from December 25, the two opposition leaders had also encouraged thousands of garment workers to join their protests by inciting them to demand the government to double the monthly minimum wage in the garment sector to 160 US dollars.

Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated on Tuesday that he would not step down as demanded by the opposition.

"No need to speak much. I will not step down," he said during the groundbreaking ceremony for a bridge in Kandal province. "I ascended to the prime minister through the constitution. If I descend, it must also be through the constitution."

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