An activist was arrested yesterday by Phnom Penh authorities while attempting to protest at the Freedom Park to demand the release of a jailed union leader, according to youth group Khmer Thavarak.
So Meta, Khmer Thavarak activist, said yesterday authorities detained one of her members, Tha Lavy, while he and other people were trying to come to the Freedom Park in Russei Keo district.
“They [district authorities] arrested one of my members and did not let us have a say. So, where are the rights and freedom of the people?” Meta said. “It is a public place. Why can’t we come and express our opinions? They came to force us to stop gathering and push us away.”
Phnom Penh Municipal Police spokesman Colonel San Sok Seiha denied that an activist was apprehended.
“I have not received any news of the arrest,” Sok Seiha said, noting that police arrested Mean Prohm Mony for incitement on Sunday as Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a warrant against him.
He also denied authorities were pursuing other activists as spread by Facebook yesterday.
The activists said that they planned to hold demonstration at the Freedom Park from yesterday till September 15 to demand Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions and four others be freed.
The City Hall last week refused to allow Khmer Thavarak to hold demonstration at the Freedom Park given that it affected security, safety and public order.
Am Sam Ath, deputy director for human rights monitoring of Licadho, said the authorities have restricted people’s peaceful assembly.
“Young people wanted to hold a peaceful demonstration at the Freedom Park, but they were not allowed to do so. So we see this fundamental freedom being strictly restricted,” Ath said. “I think national and international community see this as more restrictions on the fundamental freedom with human rights abuse.”
Phnom Penh court’s Investigating Judge Duch Sok Sarin on Sunday ordered the arrest of three environmental activists – Thon Ratha, Long Kunthea and Phoun Keo Raksmey for incitement.
The arrests were made after deputy Phnom Penh prosecutor Kuch Kimlong completed an investigation and charged the trio with “incitement to cause serious chaos to social security” under Articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code.
The trio were arrested on September 3 when they planned to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence to petition against the reclamation of Phnom Penh’s Tamouk lake.