Authorities block a group of cyclists in Meanchey district from riding toward the National Assembly yesterday.
Authorities block a group of cyclists in Meanchey district from riding toward the National Assembly yesterday. Hong Menea

A 200-strong bicycle rally to raise awareness for women’s rights on International Women’s Day was blocked by Meanchey district security yesterday.

The community members and civil society organisation officials gathered in front of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and planned to cycle en masse to the National Assembly.

But 100 guards blocked them after the Phnom Penh Municipality announced on Monday it would not allow the ride to take place, citing social security and safety concerns.

There were verbal clashes and shoving between authorities and demonstrators, but no one was injured.

Keo Bopha, a Tuol Sangke commune railway community member, said the government oppressed women during land dispute protests.

“The government said it will prioritise women’s rights on the international stage, but it has never done as promised,” she said.

Tep Vanny, a representative of Boeung Kak land disputants, said the group had lodged a letter regarding the rally last week.

“We tried to negotiate with Meanchey district authorities, saying we could ride on one side of the road to prevent a traffic jam, but still they did not allow it.”

A security guard, who refused to give his name, said the group could have remained where they were and the blockade was only set up because the riders had ignored the municipality’s directions.