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4 Jan 2016

Matt Blomberg & Aun Pheap, The Cambodia Daily

Cambodia: Authorities interrupt 2nd anniversary of fatal protests of workers; unions & protesters confront with security guards

"Police Quash Veng Sreng Memorial Ceremony", 4 January 2016

Riot police and municipal security guards shunted a group of would-be mourners around Phnom Penh’s southern industrial precinct … as they attempted to mark the second anniversary of the day military police marched along Veng Sreng Boulevard firing assault rifles into crowds of rioting garment workers…

As groups gathered peacefully at two separate locations along the industrial thoroughfare, police and security guards stood by. ..., the state forces pulled on their helmets, picked up their riot shields and began banging them with truncheons as they marched toward the mourners.

… But about 500 meters down the road, in front of the Vattanac Industrial Park, a crowd led by Naly Pilorge, head of rights group Licadho, and Ou Tepphallin, deputy president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, refused to follow orders to leave.

… “We never intended for this to be a march,” Ms. Pilorge said later. “We just wanted to pray for the spirits, chant and then leave. They would have been better off just letting us do that.”

… With the tension building, about a dozen tuk-tuks arrived and formed a guard around Mr. Pao—who was savagely beaten, arrested and imprisoned for his role in the … protests—ostensibly ensuring his safe passage as he marched on chanting “we will not forget ...”

… Mr. Soeun’s 16-year-old son, Khem Sophat, vanished … He was last seen lying on Veng Sreng Boulevard in a pool of his own blood after military police sprayed their assault rifles into crowds of workers…