In the fifth week of the civil society-backed Black Monday campaign, seven people, including a news stringer for Voice of Democracy, were detained as they made their way to the capital’s Prey Sar prison to demand the release of jailed human rights activists.
The seven – “SOS” community activist Chray Nim; former Boeung Kak resident Im Srey Touch; Borei Keila representatives Chum Ngan, Ngov Nary, Soam Somaly and Yeun Srin; and the stringer Hoem Sreymom – were arrested yesterday as they entered Dangkor district.
Choem Sitha, Dangkor’s district police chief, said the arrest was made to maintain security and public order, and that the protesters did not have permission from Phnom Penh municipal authorities.
“We cannot allow them to have an illegal march,” he said.Nim, one of those arrested, said the seven were questioned separately, with authorities alleging that their campaign was part of a colour revolution to topple the government.
“We clearly understand that our protest aims to demand the release of four human rights officials and a NEC senior official who are detained,” she added.
The seven were released only after signing petitions saying that they would seek permission before conducting any similar activities.
Moeun Tola, director at rights group Central, said that the repeated arrest of activists was only increasing the public’s dislike of the government’s actions.