1. Hydropower Dam Protest Runs Dry…

    The intimidating presence of a considerable numbers of riot police deployed at Wat Samaky Raingsey and near the Stung Meanchey bridge, thwarted the plan to have 100 buddhist monks and environment activists demonstrate at the Chinese embassy against the construction of the Areng valley hydropower dam.

    Just 1 tuktuk with 4 Borei Keila land rights activists and 3 monks managed to stay a few minutes before the embassy before being pushed away by the police.

    Moments later another group of monks, joined by villagers from Kampong Speu province, gathered at Freedom Park.

    (Source: Hydropower Dam Protest Runs Dry...)

     
  2. On the beaten track…

    Both the evicted communities from Lorpeang (Kampong Chhnang) and Malai (Banteay Meanchey), hosted and supported by land rights activists and buddhist monks in two different locations, marched through the streets of Phnom Penh to deliver petitions at the Ministry of Justice and the National Assembly for the first and at the National Assembly only for the second group.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

     
  3. Another Hearth Of Resistance…

    The Stung Meanchey pagoda in Phnom Penh, well at least some of the monks at that pagoda, together with monks from Wat Than, are involved in supporting those who are suffering from unjust situations. They were present during the SL factory worker’s strike at the end of 2013, they did show up frequently during the post-election rallies from the opposition CNRP. Today they host 67 families at the pagoda, mostly former soldiers, many of them maimed by land mines, from Malai in Banteay Meanchey, who are involved in a land issue.

    This is part of a new story called ‘Hearths of Resistance’, which itself is a follow-up 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.

     
  4. Free Speech At Freedom Park

    The villagers from Lor Peang (Kampong Chhnang province), evicted by KDC International Company, headed by Chea Kheng, the wife of Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem, and who are hosted by the Boeung Kak lake land rights activists, held an unhindered ‘press conference’ at Freedom Park.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

     
  5. Anger Is Blind…

    Two groups of evicted communities joined hands to demonstrate in front of the National Assembly this morning to protest, pointing their fingers to Kep Chuktema, former governor of Phnom Penh, who they are holding responsible for the mess they are in.

    One group was forcefully diverted by the police in its march towards the National Assembly when trying to pass in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house.

    If the anger the evicted communities in Phnom Penh feel towards the authorities and in particular towards Kep Chuktema is understandable after all they have been going through over the past years, the idea to compare the governor to Kaing Guek Eav, alias ‘Duch’, the convicted head of the infamous S21 Khmer Rouge interrogation centre is rather unreasonable.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

     
  6. Unrelenting Borei Keila…

    The community of Borei Keila which was forcefully evicted in January 2012 after countless intimidations, lies and cheatings since 2007 (see HERE), held a demonstration in front of the municipality building.

     
  7. Hearths Of Resistance And Refuge…

    Wat Chas, Wat Samaki Raingsey, Boeung Kak lake: they are a few of the places in the capital where evicted villagers from all over the country flock to to try and draw attention on their land issue. Unlike 10 years ago, when the evicted would gather in the gardens in front of Wat Botum, they now can count on assistance from grass roots land rights activists or buddhist monks who guide them through the steps to make their voice heard.

    A complete set of photographs will soon be available on my website…

    See also HERE

     
  8. What if?

    It is not going to happen yet, but what if each separate evicted community ended up on the same day in Phnom Penh to demonstrate, each one in front of one specific governmental institution? What would that be called? And will the additional 700 soldiers stationed in Phnom Penh be up to their task of maintaining order without sliding into excessive violence?

    (Source: johnvink.com)

     
  9. Trapped In A Pagoda…

    Some 50 villagers from Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Svay Rieng and Pailin, entangled in a land issue an who are staying at Wat Chas, were prevented from crossing the gate of the pagoda by an important and rather disproportionate force of combined riot police and municipal security guards when they wanted to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house.

    Four members of the Boeung Kak lake community who showed up in support of the villagers were promptly arrested and evacuated to the police station.

    Two villagers who felt unwell were carried away by LICADHO for medical treatment.

    Mr Khleang Hout, governor of Chroy Changvar, came to hear the complaints of the villagers. How the governor of Chroy Changva can resolve land disputes in far-off provinces will probably remain a mystery.

    (Source: johnvink.com)

     
  10. Some Go, Others Come…

    There is some turnover among the 250 villagers hosted at Wat Chas pagoda on the Chroy Changvar peninsula. Villagers from Battambang and some from Banteay Meanchey, embroiled in land issues back home and who came to Phnom Penh to find a solution with the authorities, have returned after written promises from those in charge. Others, from Svay Rieng, arrived yesterday. As long as the authorities are unable to solve the problems locally, they will keep coming. They have done it for the last 14 years that I know of. There is no good reason they would stop. What else can they do but seek help higher up and bypass local incompetence?

    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)