PHNOM PENH - Housing rights protesters resumed demonstrations in Phnom Penh Monday to demand the release of a jailed activist.
Around 100 supporters gathered in from of the headquarters of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to demand the release of a jailed activist named Yorm Bopha, underscoring the persistence of a movement that the authorities have been unable to quell.
They were led by Tep Vanny, an activist who was awarded in Washington for her leadership earlier this month.
Tep Vanny was awarded for leading an ongoing movement against forced evictions and land grabs. She and other are demanding proper compensation following the evictions of thousands of families at the Boeung Kak lake development site in the capital.
“Our first priority is to find a solution to land grabs,” Tep Vanny said Monday. “My receiving the award was important to me, but we still need our demands met in land issues and for homes.”
Yorm Bopha was arrested last year and charged with assault, after participating in similar demonstrations. She was given a three-year sentence in December, in what many rights observers say was an attempt by the courts to curtail dissent over ongoing housing issues.
No officials from the CPP came out to meet demonstrators outside the headquarters on Monday. A police official said the party did not have the power to resolve the issue, which must be handled through the National Assembly, Senate and Ministry of Interior.
The demonstration eventually moved away from the CPP headquarters and back to the Boeung Kak neighborhood. No clashes with police were reported.