PHNOM PENH - Four housing rights activists have begun a hunger strike in front of the Cambodian Court of Appeals to demand the release of fellow activist Yorm Bopha.
The activists include Tep Vanny, an outspoken representative of the Boeung Kak lake neighborhood, who recently received an award in the US for her work.
The hunger strike follows a violent clash last week between demonstrators and police that ended when three water canons were set upon protesters in the capital.
Yorm Bopha is serving a three year sentence on charges rights groups say are exaggerated, for an alleged assault during a housing rights demonstration last year. The Appeals Court is expected to hold a hearing on her case on Wednesday.
The four hunger strikers sat down in front of the Appeals Court on Monday, wearing all white and accompanied by other protesters who held banners urging the court to release Yorm Bopha.
“I want to provide a message to the Appeals Court, that it should be independent on Yorm Bopha’s case,” Tep Vanny said. “I want to inform them that we are hungry for justice.”
“I joined the hunger strike today because I want to tell the Appeals Court it should provide justice to Bopha,” demonstrator Bov Sophea said.
Tep Vanny said the hunger strikers will go without eating until Wednesday’s hearing.