100 Families Plan Protest of Imminent Relocation

About 100 families in the Tonle Bas­sac Village 14 settlement, be­tween Phnom Penh’s Russian Em­bassy and the Bassac River, have not been given land to relocate in Dang­kao district and plan to protest on Wednesday when their neighbors who did receive land are sched­uled to move.

“There are over 100 families in this area that are not recognized by the village authorities,” village resident Sur Phalla, 34, said on Mon­day.

Sur Phalla said that after a suspicious fire burned down a nearby squat in 2001 she and others were re­located to Dangkao district but there was no way to make a living, so they moved back to Tonle Bas­sac but are now being forced to leave again.

“Many people are not happy about it and are organizing a pro­test,” said Diep Nareth, 42, a construction worker who rents a shack in the area and who was not among those given a 5-meter-by-12-meter plot at the relocation site in Tra­peang Krasang commune.

Khat Vichey, 37, the owner of a makeshift bar in the village, said that those who are not getting new land would protest on Wednesday.

“They must find a proper solution: We want water and electricity set up, we want larger plots of land, 8-meters-by-15-meters and we want some money to set up decent houses,” he said.

Phnom Penh Deputy Municipal Governor Mann Chhoeun said the city does not expect any trouble during the scheduled relocation and evic­tion.

“Those who still protest, we will solve the problem step by step,” he said.

“So far we don’t have any clashes with the people there,” he added.

Several villagers, both entitled to land and not, did not believe that the property development to be under­tak­en by the Sour Srun company in Ton­le Bassac justified their relocation.

“All of this is just to help some rich people,” Sur Phalla said.


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