Women’s Rights Activists Dispersed by Police

About 100 women’s rights activists were prevented from riding tuk-tuks to the National Assembly and the Phnom Penh headquarters of the ruling CPP on Tuesday, but successfully delivered a petition to the opposition CNRP demanding female representation on the reformed National Election Committee (NEC).

The activists gathered in the morning at a roundabout near the National Assembly along with musical instruments—planning to partake in traditional Trot dancing during their demonstration—but were blocked by police.

“The key purpose of gathering today was to perform Trot dancing…to eradicate bad luck among our parliamentarians, and especially to submit a petition requesting that women be selected as new members of the NEC,” said Thida Khus, director of the Committee to Promote Women in Politics, which organized the march.

Asked why the demonstrators had not been allowed to deliver their petition, CPP spokesman Sok Ey San said the activists had strayed from acceptable means of petitioning.

“[T]hey did something irregular by bringing musical instruments,” he said.

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