Community activists from Boeung Kak lake and other settlements in Phnom Penh gathered today to mark one year since fellow activist Yorm Bopha was unjustly imprisoned. Some 100 community members gathered first at Wat Phnom, from where they – trailed by media, NGOs, and various police – marched to the Supreme Court. Children, including Bopha’s 9-year old son Lous Lyhour, led the march, which passed busy Kandal market where shopkeepers and residents flocked to see the procession. The group made a stop at the Royal Palace to call for the King’s intervention, before proceeding to the Supreme Court where they sang, made speeches, and released balloons.
The day’s event was marred by the police preventing some community members from leaving Boeung Kak to join the non-violent action, as well as confiscating materials for the demonstration, including banners and lotus flowers. Nget Chea, a tuk tuk driver bringing materials to the demonstration was also beaten by the police, and a car belonging to the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), similarly carrying demonstration materials, was briefly impounded. The materials were later returned to the community.