Anti-Eviction Activists Band Together at City Hall

More than 30 activists from two communities impacted by land-grabbing demonstrated together in front of Phnom Penh City Hall on Monday to demand that authorities intervene in their cases.

Arriving at about 8 a.m., 10 representatives of Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood, who are calling for their land to be demarcated by the municipality, were joined by more than 20 residents of the Lor Peang village in Kompong Chhnang province, who are locked in a decade-long land dispute with the wife of the Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem.

At about 9 a.m., the Boeng Kak protesters were finally invited into the building to meet with municipal officials and exited apparently pleased with the talks.

Housing Rights Task Force director Sia Phearum said the representatives were assured that community members Nget Khun and Phat Chunreth would soon receive land titles for their property.

Ms. Khun, however, said she was skeptical that City Hall would follow through with its promise.

“I’ll be happy if this resolution is successful, but I believe only a little bit of what was negotiated this morning,” she said.

Monday’s joint gathering was a test of a new protest strategy whereby Lor Peang and Boeng Kak villagers take turns joining each other’s demonstrations, said Than Ly, a Lor Peang villager.

“I joined them because I need to add to the voices of protest, and tomorrow, they will join with us and support us,” he said.

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