Thou­sands at fu­neral of mur­dered ac­tivist

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

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