In a departure from their previous strategy of asking the World Bank for help, current and former residents of Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood pelted the Bank’s country office with raw eggs yesterday to demand that the organization pull out of Cambodia.
The protesters accuse the Bank of standing aside as the government took the Bank’s money for a land titling project while forcing some 3,000 families out of their Boeng Kak homes to make way for a CPP senator’s high-end real estate project. The families have been pleading with the Bank for help ever since. Monday was the first time they called on the international lender to exit Cambodia.
“We don’t need the World Bank because it violates human rights and the land of the Khmer people. If the World Bank stays, many more families will suffer,” Sie Nareth, one of the evictees, said during the demonstration.
“We are throwing the chicken eggs to expel the World Bank because the Bank’s money causes many families to suffer from the government’s development projects. We will come back every week to protest and throw chicken eggs until they leave Cambodia.”
The protesters, who arrived at about 8:30 a.m., left after Bank spokesman Bou Saroeun came outside to accept a petition from them at 10 a.m. Mr. Saroeun did not reply to a request for comment.
The Bank froze all new lending to Cambodia in 2011 in protest over the Boeng Kak evictions but is preparing to start lending again, possibly in a matter of months.
Daun Penh district governor Kouch Chamroeun said the protest was illegal because the participants had failed to request permission to demonstrate, and because it involved egg throwing.
“I have printed some photos showing that they threw chicken eggs at the gate of the Bank, and I have reported this to the Phnom Penh municipal authorities, asking for instructions if they do it again,” Mr. Chamroeun said.
“If any action is illegal and causes trouble for Bank officials, we will take action,” he added.