Events Promoting Peace Stopped by Authorities

Local officials in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on Saturday morning detained a group of seven young adults who were attempting to hold what they called a “march for peace” through the streets of the city.

The two women and five men, dressed in white, were members of an organization called Club of Khmer Youth Mohanokor, which promotes youth advocacy and social justice. They were arrested while marching in Boeng Prolit commune, according to commune chief Tao Muntha, who said they had not sought and received proper permission from authorities before embarking on the march.

“They said they wanted to march like that in order to find peace and prevent protests from happening,” Ms. Muntha said.

She said they were released Saturday morning after being “educated” by local authorities and asked to sign documents promising not to march without permission.

Moeun Tola, head of the labor program at the Community Legal Education Center, said the youth had done nothing wrong and that authorities had violated their right to walk freely in the city and express themselves.

In a separate event Sunday, a group of around 150 young people from the NGO Youth Resource Development Program held a “dancing protest” at three locations around Phnom Penh, also in the name of peace.

“We want to raise awareness for people to understand peace,” said Eunheng, 22, who organized 50 youth to dance in front of Wat Botum pagoda. Other groups went to Wat Ounalom and the Naga Bridge near Freedom Park.

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