1. Mending The Bruises, Licking The Wounds…

    Nearly 20 people were wounded yesterday on Sihanouk Boulevard during the violent dispersion by municipal security guards of a demonstration held by villagers from Preah Vihear province who wanted to get their land issue known to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

    This is a follow-up post on the ‘Quest for Land' story which is available as an iApp on¬†¬†iTunes and which reports on land issues in Cambodia since the year 2000 with texts by Robert Carmichael and over 700 photographs.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  2. Out Of Three Protests One Turns Ugly…

    Three separate protests took place in the streets of Phnom Penh this morning. Two of them are nearly part of a ritual: Boeung Kak lake residents protesting at City Hall about finally, after several years, having a clear delimitation of the 12,44 Ha promised by Prime Minister Hun Sen, and the relocated railway community protesting at the Asian Development Bank for its implication in the poor results of that relocation.

    The third demonstration, although on the same topic of a land issue, was held by a new, very determined group: representatives of more than 250 families from Choan Ksan district in Preah Vihear province. They are temporarily hosted by the monks from Kampuchea Krom at Wat Samaky Raingsey and were prevented to demonstrate once already last week. This time they managed to reach the Chinese, Russian and Australian embassies, as well as the National Assembly to deliver a petition but, after trying to use a tuk-tuk to ram through a police barricade set up on Sihanouk boulevard, were prevented from reaching Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house.

    They would be violently dispersed some 30 minutes after I left.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  3. Cambodia Is Not A Recycle Bin…

    'Cambodia is not a recycle bin' was one of the slogans carried by the 500+ citizens marching in the streets of Phnom Penh today to protest the refugee deal Australia signed with Cambodia. An undetermined number of volunteer candidate refugees, momentarily parked on Nauru island by the Australian authorities, would be transferred to an as of yet undisclosed place in the vicinity of Phnom Penh (not inside to capital itself because 'there are too much traffic jams', according to a Cambodian official) in exchange for $US 35 million in Australian aid over the next few years.

    The protest went from the U.S. Embassy, to the Council of Ministers where a rather clumsy attempt by security guards to block the march failed miserably after a short scuffle, on to the United Nations Human Rights Office and then to the National Assembly. The Australian Embassy was reached after a lunch under the trees.

    For the protesters the refugee deal between Cambodia and Australia in itself is a good reason enough to protest, but it is also the occasion of pointing out everything which does not work properly in the ‘Kingdom of Wonder’.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  4. Bokator Championship, Day 3…

    The Bokator championship is still ongoing. See also yesterday’s post.

    A slideshow I did a few years back on brodal serei can be seen HERE on Youtube.

  5. Bokator Pride…

    Surfing on a wave of nationalist pride, the ancient martial art of ‘bokator’, the likely ancestor of ‘brodal serei’ and ‘muay thai’ boxing, was given a significant boost for its revival a few years back through the impulse of grand master San Kim Sen. Today 29 bokator clubs, spread around the Kingdom, sent 124 members, both male and female, to take part in the National Bokator Championship.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  6. Dissatisfaction Burns At Borei Keila…

    The Borei Keila community which was cheated into a flawed on-site development by Suy Sophan, owner of development firm Phan Imex, and now live in disgracefull conditions following their eviction in January 2012, marched to City Hall to burn an effigy of the lady and request the authorities finally decide upon their fate regarding plots of land they were promised as a replacement.

    This is a follow-up post on the ‘Quest for Land' story which is available as an iApp on iTunes and which reports on land issues in Cambodia since the year 2000 with texts by Robert Carmichael and over 700 photographs.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  7. Six Unions But Not All…

    Six unions (N.I.F.TU.C., U.M.W., F.U.F., N.T.U.C. and TUF.W) managed to gather about 1000 garment workers with pink T-shirts with ‘We Need Decent Wages’ written on the back at Freedom Park. Other important unions did not show up for this demonstration which was asking for a monthly salary of 150$US.

    After a garbled National Anthem, followed by 15 seconds of the 1-minute silence for the workers who were killed by the army beginning of this year, and speeches by the union leaders, part of the protesters went on an embassy tour (the U.S. and the E.U.) to deliver petitions, had a stopover at the memorial for Chea Vichea (for which the security barriers set up by the police to prevent the demonstrators from accessing Independence Monument and the Prime Minister’s residence were pushed back 20 meters) and finally disbanded at the National Assembly.

    This is a follow-up post on my ebook ‘A Fine Thread’, available for your iPad and your Mac running iBooks. Available for 4.99$US on iTunes HERE.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  8. Anti-Vietnam Demonstration, Day 5

    So, this was the fifth and supposedly the last day of the anti-Vietnamese demonstrations which roamed the streets of Phnom Penh lately. It was all triggered by a spokesman from the Vietnamese embassy who said during a radio interview last June that Kampuchea Krom belonged to Vietnam long before its official annexation in 1949. These few words were enough to revive strong anti-Vietnamese feelings among a fraction of the population, and most certainly made the buddhist monks from Kampuchea Krom who live now in Phnom Penh very angry. As for the requested apologies from the Vietnamese embassy, the protesters are still waiting…

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  9. World Habitat Day Not Washed Away By Rain

    Today is World Habitat Day, and more than 800 people gathered in the streets of Phnom Penh to celebrate that one special day recognising their issue.

    Remember: about 11% of the Cambodian population has been, at one point or another, a victim of a land issue since 2000. That is a lot of people. That is a lot of cropped up anger. Some of it was vented today through the demonstration’s loudspeakers which were taken to the National Assembly and the park in front of Wat Bothum.

    A few members of the other land issue which preoccupies a lot of Cambodians, namely the territory of Kampuchea Krom which they claim was unrightfully grabbed by Vietnam in 1949, took advantage of the concentration of discontented people to distribute a booklet about their version of history. They later went to the Vietnamses embassy to burn a few Dong.

    PS: ‘Quest for Land’, an in-depth reportage with texts by Robert Carmichael and over 700 photographs on land issues in Cambodia since 2000 is available as an iApp on iTunes HERE.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

  10. Piggyback Demonstration…

    A demonstration on World Teacher’s Day by Rong Chhun’s teachers union at Freedom Park and later in front of a police barricade preventing the demonstrators to reach the Ministry of Education, was used as a piggyback by those protesting for the second consecutive day in front of the Vietnamese embassy.

    (Source: johnvink.com)