A man who intended to release birds at Freedom Park yesterday as a way of calling for those wrongfully imprisoned to be freed was himself detained on the way to the ceremony, rights group Adhoc said.
The man, identified as Pheakdey, 35, was among nine people travelling on motorcycles to the park, where they planned to defy a controversial public gathering ban to mark World Day of Social Justice.
“On this important day, government authorities should free people who have been arrested unfairly and should not continue to arrest people in this way,” Adhoc chief executive Ny Chakrya said.
Hun Sothy, chief of police for Daun Penh district, said his officers were not involved in the incident.
“Police did not detain or arrest him. It was security guards under the orders of district authorities,” he said.
Sok Penh Vuth, deputy district governor, declined to comment when reached.
Pheakdey was later released without charge, but Chakrya said the incident showed the willingness of “unofficial” forces to continue to interfere with those simply gathering to express themselves.
As planned, the other members of the group released the birds as a symbol of justice and peace.
Elsewhere in the capital, a small group of Borei Keila activists took five kilograms of soil from around the unfinished Buildings 9 and 10 of the Prampi Makara district site to the riverside for a ceremony in which they cursed Phan Imex Co Ltd and government officials for denying them housing.
Community representative Pich Lemkhoun said villagers wished “only horrible things” on “corrupt people” who broke their promises to complete high-rises at Borei Keila as per a contract signed a decade ago.
Villagers occupied Building 9 for two days last week, before authorities removed them in a violent crackdown.
District security forces on guard opposite the Royal Palace yesterday did not interfere in the villagers’ ceremony.