Krom protests end for now

23 Jul

By Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Pech Sotheary, The Pnhom Penh Post, 23 July 2014

Buddhist monks protest at a blockade near the Vietnamese Embassy

Buddhist monks protest at a blockade near the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday. Eli Meixler

Two days of roadblocks in front of the Vietnamese Embassy by Kampuchea Krom activists ended yesterday after intervention from the Phnom Penh municipality.

Protesters led by the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community and the Federation of Cambodian Intellectuals and Students had been demanding an official apology from the embassy after a spokesman there said that Kampuchea Krom – a portion of southern Vietnam home to many ethnic Khmer – had belonged to Vietnam “for a very long time”.

While embassy officials never received the demonstrators’ petition calling for the apology, Phnom Penh municipal authorities did, promising to pass it on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which would, in turn, pass it to the Vietnamese government, representatives of the activists and the municipality said.

After two hours of negotiations with leaders from the two organisations, municipality spokesman Long Dimanche accepted the petition from demonstrators in front of the Vietnamese Embassy, before saying: “Please, all of you, stop protesting.”

Mao Pises, head of the Federation of Cambodian Intellectuals and Students, said that authorities had two weeks to secure a response.

“The reply is a public apology in written form to Cambodian people for what their senior official has stated, [which] fakes the history. If there is not a reply, a new big protest will be set up again,” Pises said.

Part of the controversy over the Vietnamese official’s remarks stemmed from the assertion that Kampuchea Krom had been part of Vietnam long before it was officially declared as such by Indochina’s colonial ruler, France, in 1949.

As such, Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community leader Thach Setha yesterday also demanded the French “confirm clearly about giving Kampuchea Krom territory to Vietnam in order to avoid Vietnam faking history again”.

Despite the municipality’s offer, many outside the embassy were still unsatisfied. One small group – later disavowed by organisers – burned a Vietnamese flag and photos of Vietnamese communist icon Ho Chi Minh.

Embassy spokesman Trung Van Thong, who made the comments at the heart of the furore, has said he is “not interested” in the calls for an apology.

Release quickly follows deal

23 Jul

By Joe Freeman, The Pnhom Penh Post, 23 July 2014

Supporters greet Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker-elect Long Ry after his release on bail

Supporters greet Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker-elect Long Ry after his release on bail from Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison yesterday. Vireak Mai

A jubilant crowd of opposition supporters burst into cheers yesterday afternoon as seven Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers-elect and one party activist were released on bail just hours after an announced rapprochement between the CNRP and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

They walked free through exits separated by gender at Prey Sar prison on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Male lawmakers-elect Ho Vann, Real Camerin, Men Sothavarin, Keo Phirom, Long Ry and Nuth Romduol, along with activist Oeun Narith, emerged first to hugs, tears and flower garlands placed around their necks.

A heavy downpour threatened to sour the mood, but it had tapered off by the time the detainees were released.

“We did not do anything wrong,” said Ry, a lawmaker-elect for Banteay Meanchey province, who had grown a thin beard in his short prison stint.

Moments later, senior opposition leader Mu Sochua appeared through a separate exit. She thanked her supporters as well as the prisoners she met while inside. Sochua climbed into a car and gave another short speech through the sunroof.

“I’m proud. I’m proud to be a Cambodian woman and you can see that the support and desire of the Cambodian people is nothing but reconciliation and justice,” Sochua said, adding “democracy, true democracy”, before the car spirited her away.

http://youtu.be/46l5VvxUcjY

The CNRP members were arrested and hit with a range of charges, including insurrection, in the days following clashes on July 15 between opposition demonstrators and district security guards loyal to the CPP at Freedom Park in Phnom Penh, leaving several guards and activists injured.

Though free on bail, the eight still face an eventual court hearing, municipal court judge Keo Mony told the Post yesterday.

“I have allowed eight of them to stay outside their detention, temporarily,” he said.

Ou Virak, chairman of the Cambodia Center for Human Rights, lamented the way the courts were caught up in the crisis. “It’s clear that the ruling party can do whatever they want with the court – arrest people, use them as a bargaining chip and release them at will.”

The government has consistently denied that the arrests were a political tactic, but they clearly sped up the faltering negotiations.

Days after the court charged the officials, opposition leader Sam Rainsy cut short a trip to Europe, returning home on Saturday. He called for a resolution to the deadlock that set in after disputed elections nearly a year ago. That resolution came yesterday, finally, following a meeting of just a few hours at the Senate.

On his Facebook page yesterday, Rainsy said the release of the detainees was one of the main points reached in the “comprehensive” political agreement, though it was not mentioned in the official statement.

Standing outside the prison, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he did not know where the detainees were headed after their ordeal. CNRP lawmaker-elect Long Botta said earlier in the afternoon that they would all go to party headquarters.

 

Market fire razes some 250 stalls

23 Jul

By Mom Kunthear, The Pnhom Penh Post, 23 July 2014

Nearly 250 stalls in a private market were destroyed in a suspected electrical fire in Battambang province’s Phnom Prek district on Monday night, police said yesterday.

District police chief Song Sopheak said 244 stalls were burned down after an electrical fire in a centrally located stall spread to others. According to Sopheak, no one was injured in the blaze because the fire began at night.

“It happened at 11:30pm on Monday night, and people living near the market tried to put the fire out, but they could not help,” he said.

“We used 18 fire engines from the provincial police station and many fire engines from Thailand, because it was close to the Thai border, so they helped to put out the fire,” he continued.

Sopheak said he did not know the exact cost of the damage.

Authorities and Red Cross officials have distributed “some aid” to affected vendors, and police don’t believe the fire to have been an act of arson, he said.

Fires Drivers Against Delay Protests Company

23 Jul

By Ben Sokhean, The Cambodia Daily, 23 July 2014

English7

Battambang Fire Causes Over $1M in Damage

23 Jul

By Ouch Sony, The Cambodia Daily, 23 July 2014

English6

More Villagers Questioned In Phanimex Case

23 Jul

By Ben Sokhean, The Cambodia Daily, 23 July 2014

English5

No End Sight for Chronic Pnhom Penh Flooding

23 Jul

By Sek Odom, The Cambodia Daily, 23 July 2014

English4

Khmer Krom Community Calls Off Protest

23 Jul

By Khoun Narim, The Cambodia Daily, 23 July 2014

English2

Villagers Charged With Destruction of Property in KDC Clashes

23 Jul

By Kuch Naren, The Cambodia Daily, 23 July 2014

English1

Farmers Ask Hun Sen for Help, Told to Go Home

23 Jul

By Aun Pheap, The Cambodia Daily, 23 July 2014

Eng;ish3

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,754 other followers

%d bloggers like this: