NagaWorld Strikers Accused of Pictures Stunt

Authorities have accused NagaWorld strikers of staging pictures of themselves sleeping on the ground outside a quarantine centre. Photo from Facebook of Khun Tharo

Workers complain of quarantine center problems

PHNOM PENH--Authorities have accused NagaWorld strikers of staging pictures of themselves sleeping on the ground outside a quarantine centre.

Officials said the workers abandoned sleeping material provided by the authorities and refused to stay in the living rooms. Instead, they rested on the ground outside and posted pictures on social media with the intention of blaming the authorities and doctors.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration said that on arrival at the quarantine center at the Cambodian Women's Association for Peace and development, 39 NagaWorld employees were stubborn about getting out of their vehicles.

They refused to fill out forms to verify the names of 300 people who have not been tested for Covid-19. They were required to be tested if their names were on the list.

The Phnom Penh Administration said that after completing the procedure, they refused to hand over the documents until late at night, meaning that the doctors did not have time to test them.

The authorities gave them accommodation, blankets and food.

“They even shouted and caused chaos in the district,” city officials said on Wednesday.

They had not stayed in the rooms provided, instead resting on the ground outside and acted as if they were miserable to mislead the public that the authorities had abused, oppressed and persecuted them.

Of the employees who continued to gather near NagaWorld on Monday, 64 were arrested and taken by bus to be tested at the quarantine center. Of the 64, 39 were required to stay in the center for further testing in the morning, while others returned home.

NagaWorld worker Ah Yana posted a video on her Facebook account.

"We are all detained. Now it seems like a lot of time, but they still do not have food and water for us, and even the clothes that our relatives brought, they do not let them bring,” she said on the video.

Khun Tharo, program manager at CENTRAL, said the authority brought workers to the center without proper health measures and with poor organization of the food and accommodation.  “It’s not right. They brought workers to the quarantine place without proper hygiene,” Tharo said.

“Previously workers always took part in a non-violent strike. The authority was using force which is unbalanced, unequal law enforcement.”

He said strikers always cooperated with authorities but unfortunately they were accused by the court. The strikers followed health instructions by doing tests and quarantine, but authorities confined them, blocked them and pressured them not to gather in a non-violent strike.   

"Living in the same society, one nation, one leader, but the rule of law has two standards which hurt the weak and powerless people. Power is for the sake of ambition and for the benefit of its factions,” Tharo posted on his Facebook account.

Early on Feb. 22, authorities found four of the 39 Naga employees had Covid-19. The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration said the discovery of Covid-19 in the four indicated a failure to implement health measures and fined them 1 million riel ($250) each. 

NagaWorld employees have been protesting since December, trying to force the company to take back 365 laid-off employees. Strikers also demand the release of 11 detainees.

The employees have urged the authorities to stop interfering with the exercise of their rights and allow them to assemble near NagaWorld. City officials have urged NagaWorld staff to cooperate with the authorities in implementing the law on peaceful demonstrations and health measures to prevent Covid-19.

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