About 30 Boeung Kak and Borei Keila land activists resumed the so-called Black Monday protests yesterday, announcing that they will march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house this week to demand the release of a jailed fellow activist and human rights officials.
Yesterday the activists, dressed in black, convened in the former Boeung Kak lake area holding banners demanding the release of fellow land activist Tep Vanny and four staffers of the rights group Adhoc – Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda and Lim Mony – as well as the National Election Commission’s Ny Chakrya.
The protests – initially led by civil society – began shifting their focus following a crackdown by local authorities in August and September, with communities focusing on the long-dormant court cases that were revived against land activists.
“On Thursday, we will march to deliver the petition, and if there is violence [from the authorities], it will mean that the prime minister does not want to accept our petition,” said Bov Sophea, a community activist.
Police and security guards did not intervene yesterday, with Sophea maintaining the group was not conducting a colour revolution – a reference to non-violent uprisings that have toppled governments in the Middle East and Europe, and which Cambodian authorities have cited as a pretense for cracking down on protests.
City Hall spokesman Mean Chanyada would only say yesterday that the group did not have permission for the march, dismissing them as “professional protesters”.