Naga Strikers to Protest During Asean Summit Despite Warning

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A NagaWorld protester beats a drum outside the casino complex on August 19. (Hean Rangsey/VOD)

NagaWorld casino strikers will continue their protests during the Asean Summit this week despite a threat of legal action from authorities, a union representative said on Tuesday.

The Phnom Penh casino workers have been protesting for nearly a year following mass layoffs that they say targeted union leaders and members. They have at times clashed with authorities, including late-night arrests on New Year’s Eve, court actions against strikers, and violence at rallies.

Recently, seven workers have been summoned to court based on a complaint from NagaCorp that alleges breaking and entering, intentional damage and illegal confinement. The details of the case have yet to be made clear.

As the capital prepares to host the Asean Summit from Thursday to Sunday, Phnom Penh City Hall said over the weekend that all protests must stop from November 6-13.

“Groups of protesters that continue their activities by gathering and making demands that impact security, safety and public order during the Asean Summit must be held responsible by legal force,” it said.

However, senior NagaWorld unionist Nop Tithboravy said on Tuesday that the protesters were determined to continue. They had protested on Monday and Tuesday, and planned to continue again on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday — with a break for one day on Thursday.

Tithboravy said it was the workers’ right. “The ​Naga company still welcomes customers to play its casino games. Why ban us from protesting?”

After Monday’s rally, protester Seak Phana said she was not worried about the authorities’ warning.

“Our decision is still the same. We still continue demanding until we get a solution,” she said. “We do not want to pause.”

Phnom Penh deputy governor Keut Chhe reiterated on Monday that protesters would face the law if the strike continued during the Asean Summit.

“They can continue, but they will be held responsible before the law, as we have already informed them.”

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