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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Black Monday’ passes without fresh arrests

Boeung Kak community activists gather yesterday to participate in a ‘Black Monday’ event calling for the release of jailed rights workers. Photo supplied
Boeung Kak community activists gather yesterday to participate in a ‘Black Monday’ event calling for the release of jailed rights workers. Photo supplied

‘Black Monday’ passes without fresh arrests

Now in its eighth week, the civil society-backed “Black Monday” campaign yesterday saw no arrests as land rights activists kept protests within their respective communities and rights groups limited themselves to posting support for jailed human rights activists on social media.

Boeung Kak land activists released 200 black balloons with black hearts attached to them as they demanded the release of four Adhoc staffers and one election official jailed in relation to the Kem Sokha sex scandal.

“We believe that our voice can have an influence and be heard by the world, which will then put pressure on the government and call for their release,” said prominent Boeung Kak activist Tep Vanny.

Twenty representatives of the so-called SOS community near the airport also dressed in black and protested, though did not stray from the area near their homes.

Land activists have been at the forefront of the campaign and been the subject of multiple arrests over the past two months, only to be let go after pledging to not wear black and to ask permission before conducting any future protests.

City Hall administrative director Mean Chanyada expressed frustration at the continued defiance of government orders to stop Black Monday-related activities.

“They are stubborn,” he said. “We have educated them many times and they promise the authorities that they will not do again, but they still do it, and the ones who do it are the same faces.”

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