|Peaceful rally at Freedom Park|
Since the brutal crackdown by Hun Sen's regime on garment worker protest that caused at least five deaths, scored a number of severe injured protesters, and violently dispersed the peaceful protesters from Freedom Park, the opposition seemed a bit in disarray. Since then, the CNRP has lost chance to organize any big rally and protest against the adamant regime. Hun Sen, who is covertly bolstered by Hanoi, has raised his chutzpah to smash all kinds of protester--garment workers, CNRP supporters, Mom Sonando's supporters, and even civil society organizations--on his free will. Now he even brazenly organized and hired his supporters to threat and disrupt all peaceful NCRP's rallies while he has been holding a position as the prime minister of the country. There is no sign that Hun Sen is willing to make any concession or compromise with the opposition but to entrench himself for another five- year term. In such a harsh political condition, what should the opposition do?
|Hun Sen security forces beat up peaceful monks|
As the aftermath, everything and momentum that the CNRP had been built over five months were extirpated in less than 24 hours. Hun Sen had used Veng Sreng incident as pretext to ban all kinds of protest, fearing of national and social security deterioration. Then, even peaceful demonstrations were violently dispersed by Hun Sen's security and his mercenary forces. In rural areas, Hun Sen even hired and organized his supporters to threat and disrupt most CNRP's rallies. The whole situation seemed fall into the post-bloody coup 1997 when opposition leaders were summoned to court and some activists were threatened and went on hideout.
However, the CNRP should review its strategy, adapting to new situation by looking to its strength and weakness. Now the CNRP has two choices: to continue political struggle outside or inside the parliament. Both sides should return to negotiation table; the more they talk to each other the more likely they can find a compromise. The CNRP may chooses to work with the CPP in the parliament in a transitional period if the CPP agrees to midterm election by 2015 after an electoral system and NEC have been completely restructured. Keep exchange all demands with the CPP until both sides found most common ground and a tentative agreement. Raise all demands and and grievances from CNRP and people, starting from most to lesser important issues, and now the key point must be the re-election. The CPP must consider this demand seriously since it allows the current government to continue its mandate two more years until new election takes place.
Another option for the CNRP is to stay out of parliament and to continue non-violent struggle as it has been doing hitherto. But the current option may prolong the crisis and face unforeseeable result, for the situation has turned more dangerous and people may fear for their safety since even every peaceful protest was violently broken up by Hun Sen's security forces and his mercenaries. Nevertheless, CNRP is still able to organize a large protest as previous ones if it well coordinates with other groups in society especially most union leaders. All of them should learn the lesson now, small and isolated protests were crushed by the security forces, thus they should not come up in this form again since it bears no effectiveness but pain and suffering for innocent people: few hundreds of protesters led by union leaders and Mom Sonando in the past few weeks had turned into a horrible failure and unspeakable suffers to those peaceful protesters. If they want to do next, come in ten or hundred thousands as previous ones though the government still bans the gathering.
Without Veng Sreng Road incident, Hun Sen found no ground or excuse to destroy Freedom Park peaceful protest and to ban all kinds of protest. The CNRP has felt its strength and weakness now: diplomatic front, free and fair election are its best positions to struggle against the Hanoi poxy power, CPP while violent means and election fraud is only option for the CPP to maintain its undeserved power. Although the CPP is so powerful and backed by Hanoi, the CNRP is still able to fight them if it deploys a right tactic. Vietnamese emperor had shunned open field battle with the Mongol army, but he lured them into swam lands and counterattacked them successfully. Likewise, the CNRP can lure the CPP into new round of free and fair election and let the people judge them by ballots rather than to fight with them on the streets because the CNRP has no match with them in any form of violent means.