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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Cambodian protest on the Capitol steps

OLYMPIA -- The north steps of the Capitol are a venue for protests of all types, from the Occupy movement to the anti-abortion activists. When the Legislature is in session, it is sometimes such a busy place that competing protesters have to set  up on the steps of the Temple of Justice across the flag circle.

Not so much in the summer, but Friday it was the site of an unusual anti-government demonstration. There were chants. There were signs. But most people walking past would have been hard pressed to explain what they were protesting.

It wasn't against state government or something the U.S. government has done or failed to do. Some 200 Cambodia immigrants were criticizing the country's prime minister Hun Sen, calling for free elections in their country and demanding the release of four civil rights activists known as "the defenders". 

At least that's what some of their signs said. Others were in written in the Khmer alphabet. Almost all of the exhortations from speakers were in Khmer, also, so there may have been some other things, too. Let's hope the message made it halfway around the world to southeast Asia. 

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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