Anti-Eviction Protesters Blocked From Freedom Park

A day after Phnom Penh authorities refused to allow a planned one-month anti-eviction protest to go ahead, government security guards Wednesday blocked a group of 20 demonstrators from entering Freedom Park and used barricades to trap them on a side street.

The protesters, from eviction-hit communities including the Boeng Kak and Borei Keila neighborhoods, were calling for intervention in their land disputes and the release of 10 jailed activists.

Anti-eviction activist Yorm Bopha holds yellow ribbons to raise awareness for 10 jailed activists during a demonstration near Phnom Penh's Freedom Park on Wednesday. (John Vink)
Anti-eviction activist Yorm Bopha holds yellow ribbons to raise awareness for 10 jailed activists during a demonstration near Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park on Wednesday. (John Vink)

As they approached Freedom Park shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday, Daun Penh district security guards used barricades to block off Street 51.

The demonstrators then tried to move to an adjacent park but the security forces used trucks and barricades to keep them trapped on a side street for two hours, before allowing them to protest in a nearby park until 4 p.m.

Boeng Kak activist Yorm Bopha said she was disappointed the group had not been allowed into Freedom Park, but would continue trying.

“Although they did not allow us to do it, we will keep protesting until we are successful,” she said.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said the municipality would continue to block the protesters.

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