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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Black Monday rolls on, with fewer participants

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People gather near Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak lake yesterday evening during a Black Monday protest. Hong Menea

Black Monday rolls on, with fewer participants

Now entering its third month, the civil society-backed Black Monday campaign is showing signs of waning, with some land rights communities halting their weekly protests demanding the release of jailed human rights activists due to lack of funds.

Chray Nim – a representative of the SOS land dispute community which, in conjunction with a group of former Boeung Kak lake residents, had taken up the cause of the jailed activists – said the groups had been forced to suspend their participation, adding that she had been using her own money to fund their activities.

“I lost some regular customers such as military and police personnel, and civil servants,” Nim said. “They don’t come to my [laundry] shop like before, because I appeared in the Black Monday campaign.”

However, other activists and civil society members – including a separate set of Boeung Kak activists – sought yesterday to inject new relevance into the event by adding justice for slain political commentator Kem Ley to their existing demands.

“We will pay respect to his soul every Monday evening. This is our new message – justice for Kem Ley is justice for everyone,” Boeung Kak activist Tep Vanny said.

Moeun Tola, head of workers’ rights NGO Central, said the campaign was still seeing support, but also said that there needed to be an escalation following Ley’s death.

Additional Reporting by Ananth Baliga



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