News / Asia

Clashes Erupt Between Cambodian Opposition, Security Forces

  • Mu Sochua raises her hands showing a seven-finger sign, representing her party, to supporters from inside a police compound, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
  • Opposition MP-elect Mu Sochua delivers a speech at a peaceful rally near Freedom Park before it turns violent, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
  • Opposition activists and human rights officials protect a security guard from being attacked by angry protesters, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
  • Police stop an SUV carrying MP-elect Mu Sochua and other opposition lawmakers when they try to leave the rally site, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
  • A security guard, severely beaten by angry protesters, is being taken away in a UN car for treatment, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
  • Caps, clothes and wooden batons allegedly belonging to security guards were found after the guards left them and ran away, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
  • Angry protesters set fire to clothes belonging to security guards after the guards left them and fled the scene, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
  • Police stop an SUV carrying MP-elect Mu Sochua and other opposition lawmakers when they try to leave the rally site, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
  • Police close gates after taking MP-elect Mu Sochua into their compound, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 15, 2014. (Khoun Theara/VOA)
Cambodia Protest
Theara Khoun

Clashes between security forces and Cambodian opposition supporters in Phnom Penh have left nearly 60 people injured.  

The violence occurred early Tuesday when Mu Sochua, an elected member of parliament from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, led hundreds of supporters to Freedom Park, which has been closed to rallies since January.

A group of security guards moved to beat back the protesters when they tried to hang a banner on the razor wire barring entry to the park.

Cambodian lawmakers from the main opposition party of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), from right, Men Sothavrin, Mu Sochua and Keo Phirum gesture to make the number seven, the party's ballot number, as they are detained by authorities at Freedom PaCambodian lawmakers from the main opposition party of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), from right, Men Sothavrin, Mu Sochua and Keo Phirum gesture to make the number seven, the party's ballot number, as they are detained by authorities at Freedom Pa
x
Cambodian lawmakers from the main opposition party of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), from right, Men Sothavrin, Mu Sochua and Keo Phirum gesture to make the number seven, the party's ballot number, as they are detained by authorities at Freedom Pa
Cambodian lawmakers from the main opposition party of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), from right, Men Sothavrin, Mu Sochua and Keo Phirum gesture to make the number seven, the party's ballot number, as they are detained by authorities at Freedom Pa

The protesters, however, fought back and about 40 security guards were injured in the ensuing violence.  According to witnesses, some were stripped of their uniforms while others were beaten with flags.

Mu Sochua, who was arrested along with other opposition officers, said in an interview with VOA's Khmer service she was trying to reopen Freedom Park for rallies and protests.

“As members of parliament elect we have fulfilled our roles, and once again we are here to ask for the release of Freedom Park and we will send this message to the Interior Ministry," said Sochua.

Long Dimanche, a spokesman for the city of Phnom Penh, blamed Rescue Party supporters for the violence and said its leaders could face criminal charges.

“Phnom Penh municipality vigorously condemns the use of violence by the youth group of the National Rescue Party on Daun Penh security guards," said Dimanche.

The clashes ended when gas canisters were fired into the crowd.
 
Am Sam Ath, lead investigator for the rights group Licadho, said the violence demonstrates a “deep hatred” that has developed between protesters and guards.

“This is the result of anger being built up so far.  Now, when it is ripe they simply fight each other.  This is the result of cultivating the culture of violence.  On behalf of civil society group we urge both sides to renounce violence because nobody will benefit from it," said Ath.

Freedom Park was closed as part of a larger ban on public assembly following major pro-labor and pro-opposition demonstrations in January.
 
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bubba from: Long Beach
July 15, 2014 4:28 PM
Hun Sen and his regime are evil people. Each day, the only know how of Hun Sen and his regime is to terrorize innocent people. They use deadly forces to evict land and house from hundreds of thousands of innocent Cambodia people and sold to foreigners and keep all the money to themselves. Cambodian people are very poor and they don't have land to grow food for their survival. Hun Sen kills anybody that tries to do good thing for the society; for example, they slaughtered people that tried to protect the forest from illegal logging. They kill innocent people that protest for freedom, as you can see now. Initially, Hun Sen regime/police starts beating the protesters that makes the protesters to defend themselves.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs