Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials, activists spar at event

Officials, activists spar at event

Officials, activists spar at event

110811_2
Chut Vutty (second right), director of the Natural Resource Protection Group, speaks to police in Srae Veal Khang Kaeut Village, in Kampong Thom Province’s Sandan district yesterday.

Local officials accompanied by armed police attempted to stop a seminar on human rights and protection of natural resources at a pagoda in Kampong Thom province yesterday morning, organisers of the event said.

They said police surrounded Natural Resources Management Group director Chut Wutty and villagers, primarily ethnic Kuy villagers, who had travelled to the pagoda in Sandan district’s Dang Kambit commune from three provinces to learn about human rights.

The seminar followed another at the pagoda on Tuesday that drew about 70 villagers. It also ran into resistance from local authorities, a statement from the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights said.

Lim Savuth, a seminar organiser with CCHR, said commune chief Chhoy Mab and police tried to prevent Tuesday’s forum and after failing to do so they monitored it closely. The commune chief returned yesterday morning with more police and attempted to stop the seminar again, he said.

Commune officials are trying to clamp down on freedom of expression, seminar participant Minh Ny said.

Local officials, however, denied trying to stop the seminar and said its organisers had failed to inform them about it. Chhoy Mab said that when he arrived he asked to see a letter of permission but organisers responded rudely.

“I just wanted good cooperation. They came without telling us before hand,” he said, adding that it was not unusual for police to be armed.

District governor Sim Vanna said he never opposed meetings but expected organisers to follow procedures and notify authorities in advance.

MOST VIEWED

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • China steel company relocates to Cambodia

    Chinese state-owned iron and steel company China Baowu Steel Group Corp Ltd has unveiled plans to relocate its blast furnaces from Xinjiang Autonomous Region in the northwest of China to Cambodia, which will be the first overseas Baowu production plant, a Reuters report on Wednesday

  • Chinese push up Sihanoukville property prices

    The presence of Chinese investors and tourists in Sihanoukville continued to push real estate transactions and increase prices in the city, with major construction activities underway, say property insiders. Previously, local property insiders predicted that real estate transactions in Preah Sihanouk province would begin to

  • Gov’t unconcerned by Kem Sokha ‘release’ bill tabled in US Senate

    The government was unconcerned by a bill put to the US Senate last week that demands the “release” of Kem Sokha, the president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), its spokesman told The Post on Wednesday. The bill also calls for the