The Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), a merger between the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, celebrates its first anniversary at the party headquarters.
Discreet negotiations about an electoral reform seem to be under way between the CNRP and the ruling CPP to end the deadlock which followed the July 2013 elections, when the 55 CNRP lawmakers refused to take their seats at the National Assembly. At the same time the CPP has kickstarted the same legal machinery which successfully hampered Sam Rainsy’s movements in the past.
The opposition CNRP Youth organised a set of traditional games at Wat Phnom ahead of Khmer New Year. It is about the only thing they can do unhindered…
The 4th attempt, under close scrutiny of journalists, human rights workers and citizen journalists, by Mu Sochua, CNRP lawmaker, to reach the center of ‘Freedom Park’ this morning was again prevented by security guards from the municipality.
Moments later, some 100 people were protesting on the sidewalk opposite the municipal court where a bail hearing was held for Vorn Pov, a union leader jailed during a miltary crackdown on striking workers at the beginning of January. A riot police intervention came only after the crowd crossed the road and massed at the entrance gate of the court.
UPDATE at 11:32: bail was denied (again)…
The third attempt in as much days by Mu Sochua, opposition CNRP lawmaker, to reach the center of ‘Freedom Park’ was again prevented by municipal security guards who took over from a first blockade by a unit of riot police. The lawmaker made her point clear: freedom of expression, since a violent crackdown in early January (see HERE), is still not allowed at ‘Freedom Park’. Closely monitored by a considerable amount of journalists and human rights observers, she made several attempts to break through the barrage, holding and reading cards which mentioned the Cambodian laws regarding freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
A new report by human rights NGO LICADHO states that half a million people in just 13 provinces in Cambodia were affected by land issues since the year 2000 (see the report HERE). Also see ‘Quest for Land’, an app for the iPad, which gives an overview of land issues since 2000. You can download the app HERE.
Make that half a million plus one: opposition CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua was evicted by municipal security guards for the second time in two days from ‘Freedom Place’ where public gatherings are prohibited since early January.
And on this same morning evicted communities, or soon-to-be-evicted communities from Phnom Penh gathered yet again in front of City Hall to meet with the authorities regarding a resolution of their land issues.
Braving the current protest ban, Mam Sonando, director of Beehive Radio, gathered about 100 supporters for yet another demonstration (see another one HERE) which planned to march to the Ministry of Information to request the bandwith for an independent TV station.
A considerable number of municipal guards and riot police prevented the march to take place but could not stop the demonstrators to make their point for over an hour near Naga bridge. The temperamental municipal guards were again responsible for the violent incidents during which at least one person was injured on the head by a bludgeon.
The opposition CNRP held a commemoration ceremony for the 1997 grenades attack near the former National Assembly on a Sam Rainsy Party rally which killed 16 and injured over 100, Sam Rainsy included.
The demonstration ban imposed by the actual government following the violent crackdown on striking workers and CNRP supporters early January was somehow circumvented and a march in the blistering heat, all the way from the ceremonial ground to the CNRP headquarters in Chak Angré was organised. It was the first significant CNRP demonstration since the public forum at Freedom Park was suppressed. The CNRP held a congress on its premises, which was the only legal alternative to a prohibited gathering at Freedom Park. True, the 800 or 1000 CNRP supporters spilled over on the road somewhat…
Several Phnom Penh communities (always the same moving up front) demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court and the Royal Palace to request the liberation of 21 workers, activists and union leaders who were jailed during the violent crackdown by the riot police and military of a worker’s strike on January 2nd and 3rd, resulting in the death of at least 4 workers who were hit by bullets. Two more workers who were released on bail and one of the 21 will stand trial at the Municipal Court on April 18th.