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Protesters Condemn ‘New Wave’ of Activist Arrests

Cambodian land eviction victims and Buddhist monks shout slogans during a rally in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. They demanded to released land activists who were arrested during a protest against flooding and activists who were arrested during a protest against the jailing of land activists. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Demonstrators continued to protest in front of the National Assembly on Friday, demanding intervention in the jailing of numerous people, including monks, opposition members and housing rights activists.

In total, 15 people are currently in jail on charges related to demonstrations, including prominent activist Tep Vanny, who was arrested along with six others and swiftly sentenced to a year in prison for a protest outside City Hall on Monday.

Human Rights Watch has condemned a “new wave of arrests of opposition party and social activists.”

“Cambodia’s donors should speak out against the government’s harassment, arbitrary detention, and summary trials of peaceful protesters, and the government should end the crackdown,” the organization said in a statement.

Ten activists, three monks and two opposition members are currently in detention on various charges.

“We are asking for the release of all 15 people,” said Yorm Bopha, a housing activist from the Boeung Kak development in Phnom Penh.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the arrests are “not politically motivated” but are “to respond to impunity.”