As the eviction deadline passed yesterday for the hundreds of vendors who work around Phnom Penh’s Olympic stadium, more than 100 police blocked streets as work crews began to tear apart stalls, drawing complaints from vendors that they wanted to take apart the stalls themselves.
No injuries were reported in the operation at Phsar Sampov Meas, in Prampi Makara district, which removed hundreds of stalls to the east of the stadium.
Authorities said after crews had finished dismantling stalls to the east, they would turn to the north of the stadium. The land under the market will be used to construct the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.
Sok Sambath, a clothes vendor, said police prevented vendors from breaking down the stalls themselves, and that she and other vendors thought that they had until the end of yesterday to comply with municipal orders.
“The deadline has not expired yet, why don’t they allow us to move our stall?” she said, adding that many vendors needed the material from their stall to make a new one elsewhere.
Prampi Makara district governor Som Sovann said police did not use violence because vendors made no attempt to stop them.
He also defended the decision by authorities not to allow vendors to dismantle their stalls.
“We issued the notice a long time ago to ask them to move the stalls but they did not do so. When we take the action they want to move. So we cannot allow them to move at that time because it would create disorder,” he said.
He also said there are no plans for compensation of any kind for the vendors.
“We did not prepare a new market for them. We don’t need to do that. They can find the new place for selling themselves,” he said.
A Council of Ministers statement dated Thursday said the government had already delayed the eviction three times.
Prampi Makara district Deputy Governor Lim Sophea visited the site yesterday, but declined to answer questions about the vendors’ complaints.
“It is the time to remove [the stalls],” he said.