Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monivong blockage goes on

Monivong blockage goes on

Monks at a protest held by former Boeung Kak residents block Monivong Boulivard outside Phnom Penh’s City Hall earlier this week
Monks at a protest held by former Boeung Kak residents block Monivong Boulivard outside Phnom Penh’s City Hall earlier this week. Heng Chivoan

Monivong blockage goes on

Boeung Kak villagers, backed by monks from the Independent Monks Network, blocked Monivong Boulevard for the third straight day yesterday as they continued their protest over compensation they say they were forced to accept when evicted from their land in 2008.

Unlike the situation at Tuesday’s roadblock – which saw security forces beat up two protesters and a monk – there was little police presence in evidence yesterday, even as protesters burned tyres in the street and shouted through a megaphone at officials inside Phnom Penh’s Municipal Hall.

Yesterday’s blockage of the heavily trafficked boulevard, this time from 8:30am until 6pm, persisted even after Cambodia National Rescue Party president Rainsy urged them to clear the street.

“In this circumstance, we should not protest by blocking the road, since this action could be portrayed by the government authorities as us breaking the law,” Rainsy said. “The Cambodia National Rescue Party has millions of people who are willing to join the march. We could possibly block all the roads and the airport, but we chose not to do so, because that time has not come yet.”

However, longtime Boeung Kak community representative Tep Vanny, who first joined the protest on Tuesday, declined to vacate the road, saying that the protest would continue, and that the community had to avoid associations with political organisations lest they be branded political activists by the government.

“We are glad to hear that the elected political party pays attention to and supports us, but we will not stop protesting for our land and housing disputes and join with the political party’s demonstration, because we do not want the government authorities to say that our land and housing disputes are related to political issues,” she said.

Rainsy confirmed, for authorities’ benefit, that the protesters were unaffiliated with the CNRP, and also floated the idea of leading striking garment workers to attend the protest in support of the Boeung Kak villagers.

However, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said later in the day that a different plan had been arrived at.

“He has promised to meet with the [municipal] governor to demand a solution to Boeung Kak lake,” this morning, Sovann said, noting that Rainsy had asked protesters to move because party officials “were afraid there would be a crackdown”.

That crackdown could still be in the offing. Municipality spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday that about 100 Municipal Hall officials filed a complaint on Tuesday asking for the intervention of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police in ensuring their safety, and accusing the protesters of “intentionally trying to [trap] and intimidate the public officials and destroying public property”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHANE WORRELL

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • New airport study set for 2019

    A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the Kingdom will be launched later this year, according to a Ministry of Tourism spokesman on Monday. The plan was approved last week in a meeting held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance