Date: 5th December 2014
Following yesterday’s kicking off of a large-scale Cambodian human rights campaign in Ratanakiri province, a further 6 groups of marchers have taken to the national roads across the country, aiming to converge in Phnom Penh for the 10th December.
Along National Road 1, approximately 70 marchers started from Wat Kassa Pak, Prasat village, Prasat commune, Kampong Trabek district. There was no interference from local authorities, and marchers have been able to proceed peacefully.
National Road 2 was more problematic today – the group of approximately 80 people aimed to start from Wat Soam, Soam commune, Kirivong disctrict Takeo province. Local authorities blocked the road, and informed the group that they will not be allowed to go ahead with the peace march unless they obtain permission from the Interior Ministry.
According to Venerable Keo Somaly on the ground, his group decided to remain in Wat Soam there until December 9th unless the situation resolves itself. Villagers also expressed strong commitment to stay and offered places to stay. Human Rights monitors remain onsite (STT, CLEC and LICADHO).
The information for the other roads are:
National Road 3: 53 people have been marching with no interference since 7 a.m this morning, starting from Wat Dey Krahm, Chhouk, Dey Kraham village, Nimol commune, Chhouk district, Kampot province. Local residents along the way have made the group feel welcome.
Along National Road 4, the largest group of marchers (210 people from Kampong Som and surrounding communities) started at 7:30 this morning from Wat Phnom Pichnil, Treng Tra Ying, Phnom Sruch district, Kampong Speu. LICADHO and CLEC are monitoring this group, and local villagers have been warm and welcoming so far.
National Road 5 is covered by a group of 94 people (including 54 monks) and started from Wat Utum Por, Svay Chrum commune, Ro Lea Pha Eia district, Kampong Chhnang. Although some police have been deployed along the road, this has so far been for observation, and they have not expressed any antipathy towards the group.
Approximately 70 marchers left at 7 am along National Road 6, starting from Wat Trapeang Preah, Mean commune, Prey Chhor district, Kampong cham province. The previous night, the group was forbidden to stay in the local pagodas, but these were finally opened at 12 midnight.
Ratanakiri Road: following the issues of the 4th December, whereby monks and civilians were locked out of pagodas in Kon Mom district follwoing the local authorities forbidding them access, the group of marchers decided to stay in Stung Trent overnight, and travel by car to Kampong Cham province to join the marchers along National Road 6.