Cambodian union activists end rally after banned from entering Freedom Park

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-3-9 9:39:11

Hundreds of opposition-aligned trade union activists and workers terminated their outlawed rally on Saturday after heavy security forces had been deployed in and around the capital's Freedom Park to prevent them from entering the Park to hold a forum on the International Women's Day.

"Those activists ended the rally peacefully after having gathered for about two hours on a street near the Freedom Park because the authorities did not let them enter the Park to hold the forum," said Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator for a rights group. "There had been no any clash at the rally."

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, one of the 18 opposition-aligned trade unions and associations, said at the event that the rally was to call for a wage increase for garment workers and the release of 21 protesters detained since January.

Sam Rainsy, president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), along with his deputy Kem Sokha, appeared at the rally for about five minutes to encourage those activists.

National Military Police Spokesman Kheng Tito said those union activists and workers held the rally illegally and had a political tendency.

"It was an illegal gathering that's why our authorities did not allow them to enter the Freedom Park," he told Xinhua, adding that there had been no any reports of clash between those activists and security forces.

The Park's closure on Saturday came after Phnom Penh Vice- Governor Khuong Sreng on Thursday issued a statement to ban the group from holding the rally, saying that the rally's purpose has mixed with political characteristics.

Numerous demonstrations have been staged by CNRP and its aligned trade unions since a disputed election in July last year that handed victory to Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party.

Two violent protests in early January had left four protesters dead and 21 others still detained.

Hun Sen said Tuesday that the government would no longer tolerate illegal rallies led by the opposition and its aligned trade unions.

The country remains trapped in political row after the election results showed that Hun Sen's ruling party won 68 parliamentary seats and Sam Rainsy's opposition party got the remaining 55 seats.

Claiming serious ballot-rigging, the opposition refused to recognize the outcome and has boycotted parliament and staged protests to demand the resignation of Hun Sen and a re-election.

Hun Sen has said that he would neither step down nor call a re- vote.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

blog comments powered by Disqus