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Authorities thwart Boeung Kak event

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Boeung Kak community members protest outside of the Council of Ministers office in Phnom Penh yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Authorities thwart Boeung Kak event

Some 30 Boeung Kak land activists yesterday were blocked by 50 Daun Penh district security guards from delivering a petition to the Council of Ministers seeking Prime Minister Hun Sen’s intervention in helping release fellow activist Tep Vanny.

The group of women claimed they were travelling by tuk-tuk to deliver the petition when they were stopped by security forces from leaving their neighbourhood.

The petition asks the premier to help free Vanny, who was arrested in August for taking part in a cursing ceremony. Since then, the court decided to revive two long-dormant cases against her, convicting her in one of them for allegedly using violence during a protest near Hun Sen’s house in 2013.

The petition also asks Hun Sen to stop arresting Boeung Kak women, and to help resolve the community’s land disputes.

“We are disappointed. This is the first time that authorities came and picked up the petition at the community,” said community representative Bov Sophea. “I think they tried to negotiate to avoid any problems.”

Kong Chamroeun, a representative of Hun Sen’s cabinet, picked up the petition and said it would be forwarded to the premier.

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