Wires Down, Freedom Park Reopens

Muny Sithyna and Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Police removing razor wire at Freedom Park. (KT Photo: Chor Sokunthea)

PHNOM PENH, August 6, (Khmer Times) – The ban on the Freedom Park was lifted by Phnom Penh Municipality. This morning police were seen removing razor wire barriers and loading them into their trucks. 
Ms. Van Kunthy, 41-rice vendor, said she only earned 40,000 riel yesterday while the park was still closed. Her business did not go well during the barricade; her neighbors and a few policemen helped buy her food.
“Before the park was closed, especially during the rallies, my business was going very well because the protestors bought my food,” she said.
She also added that it is not a concern during the demonstrations because this is their right of free expression. She also congratulated the opening of the park and the agreement reached between the two parties. 
One vendor, who wishes to remain anonymous, near Freedom Park has said that her business performance was similar before and after the park was closed.
“When the park was closed, I earned income from police and security guards nearby. […] Now the park is opened, there will be more second hand cars on display in front of my shop. It will be hard for my customers to enter,” she said.
The announcement released by City Hall yesterday said that the park was temporarily banned because it was used in contradiction to the law, and that had led to destructions of private and public property.   
“Because public security, safety, and order have been restored back to, Phnom Penh authorities decided to re-open the Freedom Park starting today,” the announcement said.
Kouch Chamroeun, governor of Daun Penh District: “This is the authority’s obligation after the political situation has gotten better. So the municipality has reopened Freedom Park for the public rights to discussion.”
Freedom Park was banned and surrounded with razor wire in January when authorities and garment workers clashed. Since then, the authorities banned all public assembly at the park.

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