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Released Boeung Kak activist vows to keep protesting

An activist is detained by authorities earlier this month during a Black Monday protest in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.
An activist is detained by authorities earlier this month during a Black Monday protest in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district. Hong Menea

Released Boeung Kak activist vows to keep protesting

Freed Boeung Kak lake activist Bov Sophea vowed to continue the group’s weekly Black Monday protests despite her and fellow activist Tep Vanny being arrested and convicted for conducting a “cursing ceremony” last week.

The duo were convicted on Monday for insulting public officials and sentenced to six days imprisonment for cursing mannequins labelled “court” and “corrupt officials”. While Sophea was released Monday night, Vanny remained at Prey Sar prison facing charges in another case.

In an interview yesterday, Sophea said the protests would continue, only without the contentious mannequins, found offensive by both a judge and prosecutor.

“They were stressed by the scarecrows [mannequins], and maybe they are afraid of scarecrows, so we will not make scarecrows”, she said.

She added that Vanny’s continued detention was an act of oppression and that her release would be added to the growing list of demands for the campaign.

The civil society-backed Black Monday campaign began as a protest for the release of four Adhoc staffers and one election official jailed on bribery charges in connection to a sex scandal case involving CNRP acting president Kem Sokha. Participants recently began demanding justice for slain political analyst Kem Ley as well.

Borei Keila land activist Phork Sophin said she also planned to continue protesting.

“I want to do it even though they threaten us,” she said. “If there are many people, I will do it at Borei Keila, or else I will join with Boeung Kak activists.”

City Hall spokesman Mean Chanyada said it was up to the activists if they wanted to continue the campaign, but that the authorities would continue to follow the law.

“To arrest or not arrest depends on their actions and if they cause any impact on public order and security.”

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