Cambodia's newly pardoned opposition leader arrived home from exile on Friday to help his party's bid to end Prime Minister Hun Sen's nearly three decades in power, the party said.

Thousands of cheering supporters gathered outside Phnom Penh's airport and lined the road to the city centre to welcome Sam Rainsy, waving flags and shouting "change change!"

"He has arrived," Prince Sisowath Thomico, a senior member of the Cambodian National Rescue Party, told AFP after Rainsy returned from France on a flight via Bangkok.

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