Series

Hearths of Resistance

John Vink

There was a surge in social and political turmoil during the 18 months after the 2013 legislative elections in Cambodia. With the opposition CNRP gaining a surprising 55 of the 123 seats at the National Assembly, this was the first serious democratic challenge for mister Hun Sen, Prime Minister for more than 3 decades, who is ruling the country with increasing authoritarianism. Surfing on this success and relying on a pool of disgruntled citizens who suffered land grabbings, on the 600,000 garment factory workers living on insufficient wages and more generally on normal citizens confronted with a daily dosis of corruption and injustice, the CNRP managed to mobilize the masses for 6 months. A violent crackdown by the army on January 3rd of striking workers forced the opposition into a strategy of compromise. The workers and the evicted communities had to rely on their own.

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