Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Protesters beaten by guards

Protesters beaten by guards

Boeung Kak lake and Borei Keila activists clash with police in front of City Hall in Phnom Penh
Boeung Kak lake and Borei Keila activists clash with police in front of City Hall in Phnom Penh. HONG MENEA

Protesters beaten by guards

Less than a week after the government was praised for keeping the peace during mass opposition protests in Phnom Penh, Daun Penh district security guards, in the company of police, used violence to disperse land-eviction protesters yesterday.

Memories of the peaceful protests began to fade as security officials armed with batons clashed with villagers outside City Hall, where about 200 people blocked traffic on Monivong Boulevard.

This followed an earlier clash with police as protesters gathered outside the Peace Palace on Russian Boulevard.

Three villagers, including a 14-year-old girl, were injured in the clashes, while a 34-year-old man – believed to have no connection to the protesters – was arrested after a confrontation with authorities and later released.

The protesters from five communities, including Borei Keila and Boeung Kak, were demanding that Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong honour a promise he made soon after assuming the job in May to resolve long-running land disputes.

Just last week, he told Boeung Kak protesters that 32 land titles were to be awarded in short order once land was demarcated.

“We’ve just come to demand he follows through on his promises – or has he lied?” asked Hor Chenda, 32, from Borei Keila. “He should come meet us, not use violence against us.”

Daun Penh district security guards beat and arrest a man who had not demonstrated any connection to the Borei Keila and Boeung Kak activists
Daun Penh district security guards beat and arrest a man who had not demonstrated any connection to the Borei Keila and Boeung Kak activists during a protest near City Hall. VIREAK MAI

Following the clashes, municipal authorities allowed 10 representatives to negotiate with Socheatvong.

Chan Soveth, senior investigator for rights group Adhoc, said the governor advised the representatives to stop protesting while City Hall worked to resolve their land disputes.

In a statement yesterday, Adhoc called for the security guards involved in the violence to be punished.

“Daun Penh district security cannot continue to commit violence against civilians and should be disciplined for such acts as they currently act as little more than hired thugs,” the NGO said.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche urged protesters to be patient “because we have only one man working on the [case]”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHANE WORRELL

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all