Police, claiming to be under orders from the Banteay Meanchey governor attempted
to move protestors including women with new born babies from the park in front of
the National Assembly on Tuesday night, Feb 15,
One of the women that police said they would use electric batons to evict was nursing
a new born baby who had been born two months premature at the protest site. The child
was one of five born to the protestors from Banteay Meanchey since they arrived at
the park to protest the theft of their land by corrupt officials.
Another new mother, Mov Von, gave birth on the concrete floor of an open-air pavilion
in the park the morning of Feb 14, the day before police moved in.
When the medical-coordinator from LICADHO arrived an hour later, she found Mov Von
on the floor with her new-born still attached by its umbilical cord. LICADHO took
the mother and baby to the Japanese Hospital.
Staff at the hospital asked Mov Von if she could pay for treatment. However, they
allowed her to stay for two days after the LICADHO representative explained that
she was too poor to pay.
The governor of Banteay Meanchey, Thach Khun, denied he asked police to move the
protesters, and an official told the Post the protesters were really merchants who
were trying to purchase land in their home province.
It is therefore a mystery as to who ordered the protestors removal.
Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara said he did not give orders for the police to move
anyone and said it would be his decision and not that of some other province.
"If they give me an order to move the people away it is up to me whether I do
Meanwhile the protestors are staying put. One protestor, Lon Nob, who came to Phnom
Penh with his family said the last time they were moved they were robbed and therefore
would not move again.