Black Monday Protests Continue

source ៈ khmertimes

Women dressed in black outside the court display photos of people detained. KT/Mai Vireak
Women dressed in black outside the court display photos of people detained. KT/Mai Vireak

Nearly 20 members of the Boeung Kak community continued the 25th week of Black Monday protests yesterday in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, demanding the release of political activists and rights workers and asking the court to provide justice to land-rights campaigners who were appearing in court.
One Boeung Kak community land-rights campaigner who was attacked by Daun Penh district security forces in 2013 appeared in court yesterday in relation to charges brought by 11 campaigners accusing the forces of using intentional violence with aggravating circumstances.
Judge Lim Makaron issued a subpoena on October 7 to summon four of the campaigners to clarify their version of events of the incident that took place at the Wat Phnom roundabout on September 22, 2013.
Community protesters had gathered to meditate and push authorities to expedite their land claims and also asked for the release of fellow campaigners, but were met with violence by local security forces who attacked them, injuring at least 11.
Four of the campaigners appeared at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week, while one appeared yesterday and another is due to appear today.
Phan Chhunreth, a Boeung Kak resident whose head was injured in the attack, said she told the court what had transpired that day, but the judge asked for evidence of the use of violence despite her and other victims having attached evidence to their complaints already.
“I do not believe that they will solve for us, they just did it to prevent us from saying the courts are not independent,” she said.
She added that she will submit evidence to the court again with photos and video clips which she claims deputy district governor Sok Penh Vuth and a group of district security guards used violence against her group.
Sy Heap, a 67-year-old Boeung Kak resident who was injured by security forces and summoned for questioning yesterday, said she did not accept the court’s order and failed to heed the summons because it had the wrong date.
“They [the court] put the wrong date. It happened in 2013, but they put 2016, so I do not accept it,” she said.
Judge Makaron and Mr. Penh Vuth could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Chief of district security Kim Vutha said: “I don’t know this problem. I was not there when it happened. I don’t know why they filed the complaint.”