Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cambodian Widow Walks 23 Days From Village to Attend Opposition Rally [English version]

Sao Peou speaks to RFA at Freedom Park, Phnom Penh,
Oct 24, 2013. RFA photo
2013-10-25 RFA

A poor Cambodian widow and her three children walked 23 days from her rural village on the central lowlands of the Mekong River to the capital Phnom Penh to join a mammoth opposition rally this week aimed at questioning the legitimacy of Prime Minister Hun Sen's government following disputed elections.

Unable to pay for a bus ride that takes only several hours from their home province of Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh, the 47-year-old Sao Peou said she resorted to walking nearly 200 kilometers (about 120 miles) with her children aged six, 10 and 13 years to the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) protest site at Freedom Park.

"We desperately wanted to be here" to join the tens of thousands of protesters "in the fight for justice," she told RFA's Khmer Service as the CNRP held three days of protests from Wednesday to lobby foreign governments to back the party's demands for an independent probe into July 28 polls it says were tainted by widespread fraud.

“I came here not for my personal benefit, I am here for the sake of the younger generation...who face a bleak future,” said Sao Peou, wearing blue badges on her blouse calling for "change."

Hun Sen has ignored the CNRP's demands, convening parliament despite an opposition boycott and unilaterally approving his 28th year in power.

For Sao Peou and the thousands of others who came from the provinces to camp out at Freedom Park for three nights, their journey also symbolized a desire to highlight growing problems in Cambodia's rural areas—unending poverty, rising unemployment and rampant corruption, among them, she said.

Video: Sao Peou speaks to Radio Free Asia

The problems have forced Cambodians to emigrate to neighboring countries to seek jobs, said the bespectacled woman, as her children rested at the park.  

Domestic conditions

Sao Peou walked nearly 200 kilometers (about 120 miles) from Kampong Cham province's Kampong Siem district to Phnom Penh.

Sao Peou, who is from Kampong Cham province's Kampong Siem district, cited her own domestic conditions to illustrate the point, saying she and her children have been toiling as garbage scavengers since her husband was killed in a 1997 coup in which Hun Sen seized power.

“End to corruption, that is what I want," she said. "I have a difficult life these days because of CPP's rule," she said, admitting that she was an ardent CPP supporter at one time.

"Cambodians are still leaving the country to seek jobs in Thailand, Malaysia and other countries. They have been treated badly there."

While Sau Peou joined the demonstrations that ended Friday, her children were busy collecting empty plastic bottles left behind by the huge crowd.

They want to sell them to make some money—possibly enough for the trio to take a bus ride home.

"If I don’t have enough money from selling the bottles, we'll try to hitchhike home,” said the tenacious Sao Peou.


Anonymous said...

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ក្រោមល្អងធូលីព្រះបាទ, ប្តឹងទៅតុលាការ ឬ ចង់ប្តឹងទៅអង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិជាមួយស្នាមមេដៃ ឲ្យបែកមេឃ រញ្ជួយផែនដីទៀត
ក៍ផែនដីនេះមិនទាន់ដល់វេនពួកអាអស់ឯងដែរ នៅមានឯកឧត្ដមបណ្ឌិត
ហ៊ុន ម៉ាណែត ហ៊ុន ម៉ានិត ទៀត ។ល។ និង។ល។
ផែនដីនេះមិនអាចមាន ព្រះអាទិត្យពីររះលើផែនដីតែមួយបានឡើយ។
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លេខចេញយ៉ាងច្បាស់ចាញ់ហើយ មិនព្រមចាញ់ទៀត
ត្រូវចាំណា សមេ្តចបណ្ឌិតអគ្គមហាសេនាបតីតេជោ ហ៊ុន សែន វរ្ម័នទី១ មិនមែនជាមនុស្សលោកទេ សមេ្តចជាព្រះបាទ ហ៊ុន ទៀន ចាប់ជាតិ សមេ្តចជាព្រះបាទធម្មិក សមេ្តចជាព្រះអាទិទេព សមេ្តចជាទេវតារស់មកសង្គ្រោះប្រជាជនកម្ពុជា និងប្រទេសកម្ពុជាឱ្យ សម្បូរសប្បាយ រង់រឿង និងសុខក្សេមក្សាន្ដ!!!

សមេ្តចជាព្រះអាទិត្យតែមួយ រះលើផែនដីនេះ...។
ជយោ! សមេ្តចបណ្ឌិតអគ្គមហាសេនាបតីតេជោ ហ៊ុន សែន វរ្ម័នទី១ ជាទេវតានៃកម្ពុជា!!!

បរាជ័យ! ពួកអាខ្មែរក្បត់ជាតិរត់ចោលស្រុក!

បរាជ័យពួកអាសត្វឆ្កែបរទេស (!!)

បរាជ័យពួកអាកាកសំណល់បាតសង្គម (!!)


ហ្ការី អ៊ឹង
សមាគមខ្មែរឡុងប៉ិចរដ្ឋកាលីហ្វ័រញ៉ា និងជា
បេក្ខជន ស្ថានកុងស៊ុលខ្មែរប្រចាំឡុងប៉ិចរដ្ឋកាលីហ្វ័រញ៉ា

Jendhamuni said...

You again?
*Run back to my closet*

Anonymous said...

KI Media administrator -- Please make an effort to delete this Gary Ung's post. It doesn't add value to a meaningful discussion. Thank you Kindly!