By Mech Dara and Alex Consiglio
The Cambodia Daily
Pang Vanny says that before this year, he never thought of joining protests or fighting for labor rights.
Five months in prison changed that.
Mr. Vanny was arrested on January 3, when military police cracked down a violent demonstration on Veng Sreng Street—part of nationwide garment worker protests demanding a minimum monthly wage of $160.
At least five people were shot dead and more than 40 were injured during the clash, both of which Mr. Vanny denies taking part in.
“It is an injustice what they did to us,” said Mr. Vanny, a soft-spoken 38-year-old who has been working in the garment sector for 10 years. “I will join future protests because of what happened to me.”
The CNRP had planned a “people’s congress” at Freedom Park on Sunday, but the government—which has implemented a ban on public gatherings—denied the party’s request to gather at the park.
But the CNRP nonetheless held an impromptu march through Phnom Penh to its headquarters—where hundreds of CNRP faithful joined CNRP leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha for a ceremony in remembrance of 16 people who were killed in a grenade attack on an opposition rally in 1997.
At the headquarters, Rainsy and and Sokha delivered speeches to the crowd, which remained relatively subdued until planned goodies—bread and water—arrived from Bayon bakery courtesy of the CNRP.
Ontario high school teachers are planning to “up the heat” in negotiations with the government by taking job action, including not talking to parents or administering standardized tests.
Ken Coran, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, said Friday he’s told some 60,000 OSSTF members, who are in a legal strike position, also to cease attending staff meetings by Nov. 7.
“We’re fed up and want there to be serious talks” said Coran.
“We’ve got solutions and the government has to take ownership of new ideas.”
The next standardized EQAO tests for high school students begin in January, when Grade 9 students will be tested on mathematics. That’s followed by literacy tests in April for Grade 10 students.
Students must pass the Grade 10 literacy test in order to graduate.
The job action also instructs teachers not to participate in activities involved in the standardized tests, which may include in-class preparation.
“It’s designed not to impact students’ learning, ” said Coran, explaining he doesn’t see the tests as part of the defined curriculum. Coran suggested supervisors can gather students in school cafeterias and administer the EQAO tests there themselves.