Yorm Bopha Leads Protest, Stopped from Entering Freedom Park

Earlier this morning, 20th of January 2015, approximately 100 community members from Boeung Kak Lake, Borei Keila, and Tmor Kol gathered in front of the American embassy at 8am. Yesterday, Yorm Bopha had announced that she would be leading a month-long protest in Freedom Park in an attempt to generate more support for the “Free the 18” campaign as well as put pressure on the government to resolve the land disputes in the Boeung Kak, Borei Keila, and Tmor Kol communities. City Hall denied her request to use the public gathering space, saying it was too long of a protest and could lead to violence.

Despite the government’s disapproval, the demonstrators marched from the American embassy towards Freedom Park where they were met by over a hundred police with riot shields. The protesters were not permitted to enter the park. Yorm Bopha and many others decided to sit down in a display of solidarity non-violent protest. By 9:30am, the authorities had made almost all protesters and journalists disperse. Only Yorm Bopha and about 20 others remained until mid-afternoon. Before leaving, she told reporters that they would do the same thing tomorrow.

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