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Marches and Events Planned for Tomorrow
Since December 5, peace marches have been taking place on seven national roads across Cambodia. The groups of marchers are led by monks and include members of indigenous communities, youths, people affected by land disputes, and NGOs. By the time they arrive in Phnom Penh, they will have walked a combined distance of over 600km.
For most of this morning, marchers were prevented from making their way into inner Phnom Penh by mixed security forces deployed on all six national roads. After several hours of waiting and negotiating under hot sun, all groups were allowed to continue.
The marchers are now reaching their final overnight rest places from which they will begin to march to the National Assembly early tomorrow morning:
- National Road 1: Wat Chbar Ampov in Chbar Ampov district
- Natioanl Road 2: Wat Tan in Chamkar Mon district
- National Road 3: Community Legal Education Center in Dangkao district
- National Road 4: Wat Stung Meanchey in Meanchey district
- National Road 5: Wat Ottara Wattey (Wat Russei Keo) in Russei Keo district
- National Road 6: Wat Keang Kleang in Chroy Changvar district
As well as the culmination of the national peace march, the following events are scheduled to take place tomorrow.
- Over 3,000 union members from the Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) will gather at Freedom Park, where speeches will be delivered to celebrate International Human Rights Day. The workers will then march to the National Assembly, where they will also deliver petitions.
- The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) has invited organisations and other participants to gather in front of the Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC) before walking to Freedom Park, where a stage will be set up for organization leaders to deliver speeches.
- Phnom Penh municipal authorities will conduct a ceremony at the Koh Pich City Hall. According to advance publicity, the ceremony will focus on the city's development and rights of urban poor communities.
- Between 4pm and 8.30pm, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Youth Movement will gather at Tonle Sap park in front of the CDC building. There will be a live concert and speeches by CNRP leaders including President and Vice-President of the party, Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha.
Updated at 16:19 ICT
Indigenous groups launch 2014 IHRD celebrations
This year's International Human Rights Day (IHRD) march got underway in Ratanakiri province. This is the first time an IHRD event of this scale has taken place there. 200 marchers – including 100 participants from the Tampuan, Kuy, Kreun, Brao, Jarai, Kachok, and Khmer Loeu indigenous communities – made their way through Ratanakiri province, before linking up with marchers along National Road 6 on December 5.
The marchers gathered at L’eun Kreaeng village, O'Chum commune, O'Chum district, Ratanakiri Province, where activities included talks on Buddhism, human rights, and International Human Rights Day (IHRD), followed by a screening of the IHRD peace marches last year and a short film on child rights. Indigenous leaders also spoke about indigenous rights, while Tampuan indigenous communities performed music and dancing.
The group also held a forum at Yeak Laom Lake on December 4, a spiritual place for Tampuan indigenous groups, where well-known activist monk Venerable Loun Sovath and other monks addressed the marchers.
Marchers experienced problems on December 4 at Wat Kiri Sorphoan, Pai Village, Trapeng Chres, Trapeang Kraham, Koun Mom district, when 20 military police and police refused to let them rest. Despite marchers having a letter of permission from provincial authorities the Koun Mom District Governor, Ratanakiri Deputy Provincial Governor and Deputy Provincial Police Chief for Ratanakiri, informed the marchers that they could only stay on a strip of dirt next to National Road 7. The group finally moved on to Stung Treng provincial capital where they stayed overnight before heading to National Road 6 the following day.
Peace marchers on National Road 3 have just arrived at the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) office in Dangkao district. They will stay overnight before meeting with marchers from other roads at the National Assembly tomorrow.
Peace marchers from National Road 2 were the first to reach their overnight stay point at Wat Tan in Chamkarmon district shortly after 3pm. Groups on National Road 1, 4, 5, and 6 are still making their way towards central Phnom Penh.
Updated at 16:30 ICT
Marchers refused entry to pagodas in Phnom Penh
On National Road 6, marchers have arrived at the gates of Wat Keang Kleang in Chroy Changvar district. However, the pagoda is refusing to let them stay.
On National Road 5, leaders of the march have announced that Wat Ottara Wattey (Wat Russei Keo) in Russei Keo district, is also refusing to allow marchers to stay overnight. There are around ten police standing at the pagoda gates.
Marchers have encountered problems gaining access to pagodas across Cambodia since the peace marches began on December 4, leaving many, including monks, without shelter at night.
Updated at 16:29 ICT
On National Road 1, marchers have decided to change their plans and stay overnight in Wat Niroth in Chbar Ampov district.
On National Road 6, having been denied access to Wat Keang Kleang, marchers are making their way to nearby Wat Chas, a pagoda known for providing shelter to rural land rights activists from the provinces.
Updated at 16:41 ICT
Wat Stung Meanchey locked
The peace march on National Road 4 has arrived at Wat Stung Meanchey, Meanchey district, to find the gate locked. The marchers have stopped in front of the pagoda and are making speeches pleading for the gates to be opened. The pagoda chief says that the gate was locked by Stung Meanchey commune authorities.
On National Road 5, marchers have now been allowed to stay overnight at Wat Ottara Wattey (Wat Russei Keo) after negotiations with local authorities.
Updated at 17:09 ICT
The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) has posted a schedule of the event it is organizing tomorrow:
Key speeches will be delivered at Freedom Park by union and grassroots community leaders as well as by the Representative in Cambodia of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Wan-Hea Lee and the EU Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain.
Elected Member of Parliament Mu Sochua has also advertised on her Facebook page the event organized by her party the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP):
Updated at 09:59 ICT
Having been denied entry to Wat Stung Meanchey, marchers on National Road 4 are now on their way to nearby Samaki Rainsy pagoda. Marchers on all other roads have settled for the night at the following locations:
- National Road 1: Wat Nirot in Chbar Ampov district
- National Road 2: Wat Tan in Chamkar Mon district
- National Road 3: Community Legal Education Center in Dangkao district
- National Road 5: Wat Ottara Wattey in Russei Keo district
- National Road 6: Wat Chas in Chroy Changvar district
That ends our livestream coverage for this evening. Join us tomorrow for more coverage of IHRD 2014 celebrations.
Updated at 19:26 ICT
Human Rights Day celebrations begin
Good morning and welcome to our coverage of International Human Rights Day. Marchers on all roads woke early to prepare themselves for the day's events. Those on National Road 5 have already left Wat Ottara Wattey, where they spent the night, and have started to march.
Updated at 06:49 ICT
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