Two Detained Outside National Assembly During Protest

By: Sek Odom and Holly Robertson | November 29, 2014

A volunteer from housing-rights NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) and a tuk-tuk driver were detained by district security guards Friday morning during a protest outside the National Assembly calling for the release of 19 recently arrested activists, monks and opposition figures.

About 200 protesters from embattled communities in Phnom Penh, Kompong Chhnang and Preah Vihear gathered at the Assembly, where they attempted to submit a petition asking for lawmakers’ intervention in securing the release of the imprisoned activists—a group that includes nine members of the Boeng Kak lake community.

The NGO volunteer was inside the driver’s tuk-tuk, which was broadcasting messages over a loudspeaker, when Chamkar Mon district security guards detained the pair at about 8 a.m. before releasing them around midday, according to Ee Sarom, STT’s executive director.

“I think [they were] clearly trying to threaten us and intimidate us to make us not to support the local community,” Mr. Sarom said.

However, Chamkar Mon district governor Prum Somkhann said the pair’s detention lasted only an hour and was necessary because noise from the loudspeaker was disrupting a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy inside the Assembly.

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