David and Goliath

Ok, not a great pic, technically speaking, but I really wanted to share also this part of my experience abroad. I’ve kind of been a brave kid since I was little, and when I bought my Fuji x100s I felt as I also got some extra Robert Capa’s attitude along with this tiny 35mm. So here I am, in the front line of public protests in Phnom Penh, 2014, living the dream of being a reporter and getting all the focus and exposure wrong 😉 I had a lot of fun though, and learnt tons, so I guess it was a valuable experience anyway. Looking forward to being there again.

I even wrote a short article at that time, hope you enjoy the shots as well 🙂

police_cambodia_protest

“THE STICK AND THE CARROT – In January 2014 Cambodian workers raised their voices to call for a change of the exploitative labor regime they are subjected to, especially in the garment sector. When security forces responded with indiscriminated violence, cracking down on peaceful demonstrations, the situation turned into chaos. During the clashes, violent measures were coupled with the unlawful arrest and indictment of 23 among trade union and community leaders, human rights activists, workers and bystanders, including two minors. They were all charged with insult and intentional violence against Public Officials, intentional damage and incitement to violence.

 

Despite these accusations, human rights organization Cambodian Center For Human Rights (CCHR) claims that the only thing the 23 can be blamed for is to have exercised their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. CCHR points out that the lack of any incriminatory evidence demonstrates that the verdict is based on political considerations rather than evidence.

 

These pictures depict important moments of solidarity for the 23 men unlawfully jailed. The second of five days of trial, between April and late May 2014, provided the venue for widespread popular support for “the 23” and a general call for a fairer judicial system. A great number of supporters gathered around the Municipal Court but riot police set up barricades to prevent  civilians and representatives of the political opposition to reach the Court. This did not stop demonstrators from expressing their opinions through an open mic initiative, chants, slogans and traditional dances.

 

May 30th, the last trial ended with a bitter-sweet sentence. All 23 men have been released but not in virtue of their innocence. On the contrary, they all have been sentenced to up to 4 years of jail, although the judge decided to suspend (temporarily?) his decision. As usual, Cambodian authorities know how to use the stick and the carrot.”

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