Workers Break Ground on New Freedom Park

Work has finally begun on the controversial new Freedom Park on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, two months after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced it would be moved from the existing city-center site.

The current Freedom Park, which is near Wat Phnom and has been central to civic protest for the past few years, is to become a garden and performance space.

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Work begins on the new Freedom Park, in a photograph posted to the municipal transport department’s Facebook page.

Mr. Hun Sen said in December that the park, designated for public demonstrations, was causing “anarchy” and the central location was a mistake—a stance criticized by rights groups as further marginalizing dissent against his rule.

On Tuesday, City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey said construction had begun at the new site in Russei Keo district, in the north of the capital, and would be completed “very soon.”

The new park, authorities say, will include plants, seating, parking, restrooms and open space in which people can exercise.

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