Thousands at funeral of murdered activist
TENS of thousands of Cambodians poured onto the streets here yesterday for the funeral procession of a prominent political analyst murdered in a brazen daylight shooting that shocked the Southeast Asian nation.
Kem Ley, a popular pro-democracy voice and grassroots rights activist, was shot dead on July 10 while drinking coffee outside a petrol station.
The murder sent jitters across a country already brimming with political tension as premier Hun Sen faces accusations of clamping down on critics of his 31-year rule.
Yesterday, a massive crowd of mourners, many carrying portraits of Mr Kem Ley, trailed for kilometres behind Buddhist monks and a motorcade carrying the 46-year-old’s body in a transparent casket.
Tens of thousands of others lined the streets to watch the procession, which ended at the activist’s home village some 70km (43 miles) away.
“He was a mirror of society, a hero. His murder is a huge loss to democracy,” said Hul Chan, 39.
Mr Kem Ley, a popular radio commentator, was a regular critic of Mr Hun Sen as well as the political opposition. He called for a new era of clean politics in Cambodia – one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
He was also a major advocate for land and labour rights, travelling across the impoverished country to speak directly with villagers.
Oueth Ang, a former soldier and Buddhist monk, has been charged with the murder. –