The long-awaited trial of Vorn Pao, Chan Putisak, Teng Savoeurn and the 18 arrested during strike demonstrations in January 2nd and 3rd and 2 arrested at Stung Meanchey, during the garment workers strike in November, 2013, began this morning at 8 am at Phnom Penh Municipal Court and is proceeding into the afternoon.
Since early in the morning, the police had already blocked off all roads around the courthouse and the street in front of the courthouse on Monireth Boulevard across from Olympic Stadium.
About 400 people rallied in front of the two side barricades, including community activists from different urban poor communities, garment workers, union and family of the 23. , supporters have stood at the police barricades making speeches over loudspeakers, with “Free the 23” logos, lotus flowers adorning their T-shirts and painted on their faces. While some hundred Human Rights activists keep an eyes on.
As the detainees sat in holding rooms before the trial started, rights workers, observers and others negotiated with police outside the court for tickets allowing them into one of three courtrooms where the trials are being held.
At around 9am, BKL activist Yorn Bopha, Khek Chanrasmey, Nget Khum and others community representatives have been crossing one barricade and running toward the courthouse only to be stopped by police forces and physically carried back.
About at 4pm, the message from the courthouse said that the prison guards entered the courtroom ordered the hearing to stop, since they needed to bring back all the prisoners back to prison. The hearing delayed to May 6.The 21 confirmed back to CC1, but not CC3 according the reliable source from the prison.