Posted by: HK | September 16, 2013

Negotiations and Tragedy

Today the CPP and the CNRP have just finished a 5-hour meeting at the National Assembly for negotiations and talks.  The CNRP went into the meeting demanding a TV station, reform of the National Election Council and a new voter registry.  It seems that there has been agreement on a reform of the NEC and a new registry, as well as to go about demonstrations with no violence on either side.  However the CNRP are still planning to boycott the National Assembly.

This is following on from the violent clashes of last night, which left one man dead and several seriously injured.  Reporters say that the violence started when commuters became angry at road blocks and started tearing down barricades.  When police reacted with shots fired into the air and tear gas, political protesters joined in, rocks were thrown and shots were fired.  The violence lasted for several hours and resulted in the death of a 29-year-old man; further police involvement was required when protesters refused to let his body be taken away.  http://sea-globe.com/deadly-clashes-phnom-penh/ is a good eye-witness account by a journalist.  There are varying accounts of police brutality, the use of tasers and the firing of live bullets (only rubber bullets were supposed to be used).  I’ve also heard claims that those protesters who were initially involved in escalating the problem were drunk.

Today many international schools, including ours, were closed to students.  There were fears that protesters would move the body of the man who was killed to Freedom Park, causing further marches and potential problems outside a hospital near our school.  However this is yet to happen, presumably because Sam Rainsy has only just finished his meeting.  The King issued a letter asking for people to remain peaceful and NGOs are helping to monitor the situation in key areas.

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/video/one-dead-after-violent-crackdown is a good (if slightly graphic) video showing images of yesterday’s protests.

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