Apsara Sets Razing Deadline; Villagers to Protest

The government body charged with managing Angkor Archaeological Park has set an August 10 final deadline for the voluntary removal of homes and shops built illegally in protected zones of the park before they are forcibly razed.

“If the date passes, the provincial removal committee and Apsara Authority will execute the tearing down of all illegal constructions beginning on August 10, and we will not be responsible for damage or loss of construction materials,” a statement said.

About 523 structures were erected without permission leading up to the June 4 commune elections, Apsara has claimed.

Attempts to evict the squatters has met resistance, and previous deadlines have lapsed after Apsara director Sum Map conceded last month that authorities had not attempted to stop the villagers from building the homes, with families claiming it was because they feared losing votes for the CPP.

If the plans go ahead, villagers will protest, said Sin Vuthy, who constructed a home.

“We are not hesitant to protest, even if the authorities fatally shoot people with guns,” he said.

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