More than 1,000 opposition activists staged a demonstration in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, demanding reforms to the National Election Committee ahead of July’s parliamentary polls. Opposition leaders from the Cambodia National Rescue Party said some supporters from the provinces were barred from entering the capital to join the demonstration. About 100 armored police outfitted with electric batons and riot shields kept the demonstration within the confines of Freedom Park. No clashes with police or injuries were reported. Demonstrators wore white ribbons around their heads and called for “change” at the NEC. (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)
A group of Cambodian-Americans gathered in front of the White House in Washington on Wednesday, to demonstrate against what they say is a poor election process in Cambodia. The showing in Washington coincided with a similar protest in Phnom Penh Wednesday, demanding election reforms ahead of July polls. More than 100 Cambodians from across the Eastern seaboard gathered in front of the White House, calling for election reforms and a cut to military spending to the Cambodian government. (Sok Khemara, Washington)
Opposition commune chief Buth Saruth began a monthlong visit to the US this week, where he will seek more support for the opposition ahead of July's election and look for ways to improve community organizing. Buth Saruth told VOA Khmer via Skype that he plans to meet with Cambodian communities in Washington state and California and will especially be looking for ways to emulate local community activism here. Buth Saruth is one of 18 opposition commune chiefs elected in local polls in 2012. Kem Sokha, vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, said opposition supporters are being sent to the US, France and Australia to learn better methods of political organization ahead of the July 28 parliamentary elections. VOA Khmer's Sok Khemara, Washington.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party is looking for ways to improve agricultural economics, as well as increasing pay and benefits for civil servants, as it prepares for the July parliamentary polls. VOA Khmer’s Men Kimseng interviews Mu Sochua, an opposition lawmaker who recently visited Washington.
With economic concessions now widespread in the countryside, international donors must work harder to help Cambodia’s ethnic minorities battle forced evictions and land grabs, a representative for these groups said. Yun Mane, chair of the Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association, is in Washington this week, meeting with international groups to push for more land rights for the indigenous. VOA Khmer's Sok Khemera, Washington.
Housing rights activist Tep Vanny and other international rights advocates were awarded in a gala event at the Kennedy Center in Washington Tuesday night, sharing the stage with former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden. The event was held by Vital Voices, an organization established by Clinton in 1997. Tep Vanny accepted a global leadership award, calling it a sign that the Cambodian struggle for housing and land in the face of forced evictions had earned international recognition. VOA Khmer's Sok Khemera reports from Washington.