US actress headed for showdown in Cambodia
( dpa ) - US actress Mia Farrow appeared on a collision course with Cambodian authorities Saturday after her supporters vowed she would proceed with an anti-China rally at a former Khmer Rouge jail Sunday despite Cambodian government objections. The 62-year-old's supporters posted fliers advertising the Dream For Darfur event Friday night.
Her local partner Theary Seng, director of the German-funded Centre for Social Development, told local media they would proceed with the symbolic torch burning at Toul Sleng Genocide Museum in the capital despite a government ban.
Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naroth warned the rally would not be tolerated.
" Cambodia is a sovereign nation. We have laws, and if they are not respected we will use them," he said.
Farrow, previously better known for her acting, haircuts and husbands, has become a respected humanitarian through her Dream For Darfur campaign, which aims to highlight China's economic support of Sudan in the lead-up to the August Olympics in Beijing.
China is one of Cambodia's strongest allies.
The government and the museum's director have also voiced concerns that the ceremony fails to respect Buddhist beliefs.
Farrow's supporters reject the claims.
Up to 16,000 people were tortured or killed at Toul Sleng during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 regime. Buddhism is the state religion.
The Cambodia Daily, the local English-language newspaper, Saturday quoted government spokesman Khieu Kanharith as saying those who participated in Sunday's protest would be subject to arrest and deportation.
Seng, an American-Cambodian, was quoted as saying she was undaunted and put freedom of expression first.
On Thursday, Kanharith accused the group of being "foreigners" with little insight into Cambodian history who hoped to raise funds using the memory of Khmer Rouge victims as a vehicle.
Many Cambodians still blame the US for the rise of the Khmer Rouge after it backed Marshall Lon Nol's 1970's coup which toppled former King Norodom Sihanouk's government from power. The US later mounted a secret and devastating bombing campaign against Cambodia allegedly aimed at destroying travel routes for Viet Cong.
Some have jokingly dubbed Farrow's ally Seng 'Toul Sleng Theary' in reference to the moniker 'Hanoi Jane' earned by US actress Jane Fonda when she visited the capital of neighbouring Vietnam in 1972.
Up to 2 million Cambodians died during the Khmer Rouge regime. Millions more were displaced during and after the 30-year civil war.