Boeung Kak protester miscarries

By Khouth Sophak Chakrya, Phnom Penh Post 02 July 2013

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Bov Sophea, a Boeung Kak lake community resident and activist, clashes with police during a demonstration in front of Phnom Penh’s City Hall yesterday. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

A Boeung Kak lake activist miscarried after allegedly being kicked in the stomach by security guards during a land-rights protest in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Hall yesterday, she said.

Khek Chan Raksmey, 33, who was more than two months pregnant, said City Hall security guards kicked her in the stomach, causing her to bleed and fall to the ground.

“I lost my baby, and I am suffering so much now,” she said, adding that a doctor had told her the blows inflicted on her could prevent her from giving birth in the future.

A nurse from the clinic Chan Raksmey was taken to in Tuol Kork district confirmed medical staff had not been able to save the unborn child.

The incident occurred in virtually the same spot authorities unleashed a water cannon on a pregnant Chan Raksmey and others during a similar protest in May.

Land activist Bov Sophea, whose sister also miscarried when allegedly kicked in the stomach by police outside the appeal trial of 13 Boeung Kak women more than a year ago, said she too was attacked by security guards yesterday.

“They tore my shirt and trousers and kicked me in the vagina twice and once in the stomach,” she said.

The clash between the two women and about six or seven security forces occurred at about 2:45pm after protesters had blocked parts of Monivong Boulevard from  about 8am, demanding authorities to resolve the Boeung Kak and Borei Keila land disputes before the National Election on July 28.

Yi Soksan, a senior investigator for rights group Adhoc, said yesterday’s violence could have been avoided had authorities resolved the disputes sooner.

“If they do not want to finish it all, [these communities] will keep protesting and the chaos will happen every day,” he added.

Long Dimanche, a spokesman for Phnom Penh Municipality, declined to comment.

The incident follows two women miscarrying after allegedly being attacked by police during strikes that began in late May at the Sabrina Garment factory in Kampong Speu province.

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