Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Spirited protest at Riverside

Boeung Kak lake activists rally at Phnom Penh’s riverfront yesterday for the release of 21 detainees
Boeung Kak lake activists rally at Phnom Penh’s riverfront yesterday for the release of 21 detainees. Pha Lina

Spirited protest at Riverside

Land activists said it was a spiritual ceremony; authorities described it as the latest attention-grabbing from “professional protesters”.

Whatever the case, once the familiar scuffling between menacing security guards and civilians had passed yesterday, a demonstration calling for the release of 21 workers and activists arrested in January was a different spectacle from the excessive violence of recent months.

The demonstration began with forces blocking protesters from the Boeung Kak, Borei Keila and Thmor Kol communities as they tried to gather outside the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh, seizing a drum and power supply.

But when the group shifted to an area near Riverside, the morning took on a spiritual tone and protesters dressed in white – some with their faces made up to resemble deities – prayed to the gods.

During the prayer session, Pich Lemkhuon, a Borei Keila villager representative, one of those in costume, screamed out for prisoners to be released, causing some of the crowd to suggest he had been possessed by a spirit associated with justice. “Why are you detained? Do not be afraid, I will help you all,” he shouted.

Boeung Kak villager representative Tep Vanny said the villagers believed that the praying would assist in bringing about the release of the 21.

“If we do not believe it, why did we set this up?” she said.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said he believed the answer to that question was clear.

“These are professional protesters. The people from Boeung Kak are involved in all demonstrations, not just land activism,” he said.



Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern

CNRP lawmakers beaten

Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".