160 Kampong Thom Vendors Protest Planned Relocation

More than 160 vendors from Kompong Thom province dem­on­strated Monday in front of the National Assembly, demanding that local authorities transfer their stalls from the old market to the new one in Kompong Thom town to avoid new stall fees.

The demonstrators, who said they represented 374 vendors, are upset because authorities are shut­ting down the old market and forcing them to move to the new Stung Sen market, where stalls cost as much as $7,000.

“We have no money to buy for $200 per square meter because we are poor vendors,” said Chim Moa, 36, who owns a grocery store in the market, which is the main one in town.

The vendors had to move in 1994, when police brandished wea­pons, the vendors said.

“We need to know the clear policy of the Kompong Thom gov­ernor about our 374 vendors,” said Phat Phanith, a representative of the vendors.

Di Phan, military police chief for Kompong Thom province, said Prime Minister Hun Sen ap­proved the market move, scheduled for Thursday, and added that 190 of the vendors didn’t have to pay for the new stalls until after Dec 30, 2003.

“We want to move them peacefully,” he said. “We hope to avoid violence.”


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