Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - May Day demonstration met by riot cops

May Day demonstration met by riot cops

May Day demonstrators march near the National Assembly earlier today.
May Day demonstrators march near the National Assembly in Phnom Penh earlier today. Pha Lina

May Day demonstration met by riot cops

More than a thousand workers from across multiple industries gathered to celebrate May Day today in Phnom Penh, despite a heavy security presence of around 100 riot police, who at first prevented them from conducting a short march to the National Assembly.

Major unions had planned to assemble 3,000 workers at the Russian Embassy on Sothearos Boulevard and march a short distance to the National Assembly, but were greeted with police barricades and around 40 police officers, stalling their plans.

Police barricades block protestors from walking along Sothearos Boulevard during a May Day protest today in Phnom Penh.
Police barricades near the National Assembly during a May Day demonstration today in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

After nearly two hours of negotiations with local authorities, the unions were allowed to conduct a short march to Australian Embassy, near the parliament, but only after around 100 riot police, equipped with shields, batons and smoke grenade launchers were deployed to watch over them.

“They said [the protest] will affect national security. We said we only want to celebrate May Day, so what effect does it have on national security?” said Ou Tepphalin, deputy president of Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation.

After reaching the Australian Embassy, union leaders addressed the crowds from a makeshift stage, and led them in chants of pro-worker slogans. Workers wearing red headbands hoisted union flags and colourful banners with sector-specific demands written on them.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Protesters at today‘s May Day march in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

“We have just come to use a public road to demand our rights, and we hope that the authorities will reconsider [their actions] next year,” said Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thorn.

The union leaders presented Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Lork Kheng with a 16-point petition, which included demands such as a $207 minimum monthly wage for garment workers, better occupational safety guidelines and revisions to the contentious Trade Union Law.

See more pictures from the day here.

MOST VIEWED

  • CNRP supporters rally in the streets of Tokyo

    Supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Monday rallied on the streets of Tokyo, demanding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resignation and urging the Japanese government to “save democracy in the Kingdom”. Some 400 protesters in the rally, which was organised by

  • GMAC makes EU plea to consider job losses

    In a statement set to be published on Monday, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said the EU’s possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) access would harm 750,000 workers and three million families. The GMAC statement, seen by The Post on

  • Four dead in Preah Sihanouk, Ratanakkiri flooding

    At least four people have died and thousands of families affected by flooding in Preah Sihanouk and Ratanakkiri provinces following recent heavy thunderstorms. Preah Sihanouk provincial spokesperson Kheang Phearum said on Sunday that a Cambodian husband and wife were killed on Thursday when a concrete

  • Nat’l Police snubs Rainsy’s claims

    The National Police on Saturday maintained that its chief, Neth Savoeun, and his family had no intention to flee the country after acting president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy accused Savoeun of corruption. On Friday, Rainsy – who fled to