On Wednesday morning, December 18th, over 300 people gathered at different sites in the centre of Phnom Penh to deliver petitions to government institutions.
Monks led the group, composed of community members and activists, to the National Assembly where they requested a response to a previous petition submitted to the Municipal Court and Ministry officials to request the release of the 18 activists who are currently incarcerated. CNRP Members of Parliament contacted the group but there was no further meeting.
The group then marched to the Ministry of Justice to deliver a new petition requesting a retrial of the 18 activists to the Minister of Justice. The group waited for over an hour, yet when a representative of the Ministry came to receive the petition, monks refused to give it to anyone but the Minister of Justice himself. To highlight their displeasure, the monks flipped their alms bowls and vowed not to eat all day.
The group made its final march to the Royal Palace, where the group aimed to deliver another petition to the King, requesting his intervention to expedite the process of releasing the 18 activists with the Ministry of Justice Currently, 8 women are on hunger strike, which has been going for 8 days now since the 10th of December – and the health of the 8 women is a big concern. A government official eventually stepped out of the Royal Palace and took the petition on behalf of the King. The group then closed the day with more prayers and a silent meditation.