Phnom Penh, 09 January 2014 – A group of around 50 gendarme and 20-30 Daun Penh security guards affirmed today when they dispersed a small crowd at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park that the right to freely assemble will not be tolerated in Cambodia’s current political climate. A group of nine Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) youth activist were set to meet this morning to sing songs against violence. The planned meeting comes after the authorities have determined not to allow gatherings of more than 10 people. The youth activists also planned to discuss recent attacks against demonstrators which has left at least 6 people dead and scores injured since July 2013’s contested elections.

Journalists and NGO workers gathered at Freedom Park before 9am and witnessed a small troupe of gendarme get suited in riot gear. The journalists and NGO workers were then moved on to outside the square by the gendarme. Less than 10 CNRP youth activists arrived shortly afterwards and performed one song and spoke to the media. Everybody was then moved further towards Phnom Penh’s riverside. Two groups of Daun Penh security guards – the second with batons in hand – cleared the area entirely over the next half an hour.

In today’s Cambodia, even the smallest gathering is not tolerated. ADHOC reminds the government that the right to free assembly is a fundamental tenet of democracy which they are bound by both domestic and international law to uphold.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of Human Rights and Legal Aid Section: 011 274 959
Mr. Neil Loughlin, Technical Assistant: 092 648 318;