Boeng Kak lake Residents Clash With Police, Again

Following Thursday’s scuffle with authorities near their homes, Boeng Kak lake residents protesting in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house yesterday morning clashed again with police forces.

Intervention police were seen shocking one woman with an electric baton, while another woman said she fainted after being shocked as the police forcibly moved protesters to an area in front of Wat Botum.

The protest began around 6 am yesterday when a group of about 60 people gathered outside Mr Hun Sen’s house seeking land titles, better compensation, the postponement of sand and mud pumping by private developer Shukaku Inc, which the villagers blame for recent flooding in and around their homes, and action against the company in response to accusations villagers made that Shukaku had police use force on them in the past.

Residents of village 24 asked for $8,500 in compensation for each house, as opposed to the $1,000 they said Shukaku is offering.

About 8 am, roughly 100 police and military police officers used shields and threatened people with electric batons to disperse the villagers.

Protester Kong Chantha said she was shocked in her chest by an electric baton, causing her to faint. After initially refusing treatment, she was taken by ambulance to Calmette Hospital. Another protester was taken to Calmette after feeling sick. Both were released from the hospital yesterday.

The protesters were eventually herded toward Wat Botum, where Kong Chamroeun, a representative from Mr Hun Sen’s Cabinet, received their complaint. Mr Chamroeun promised to report their complaint to the prime minister.

The villagers then took their protest to the National Assembly later in the morning, where they filed a complaint and were met by SRP lawmakers Mu Sochua and Yim Sovann.

“I will raise this issue in the meeting at the National Assembly,” Mr Sovann told the protesters. “We will advocate protecting the people’s rights, to change the government’s stance to help the people.”

Yesterday afternoon, the villagers filed a complaint with Senate President Chea Sim and Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng to take action against Shukaku, which the villagers claim has used police to squelch past protests, village representative Ly Mom said.

Am Sam Ath, senior monitor for rights group Licadho, said the authorities’ actions violated the protesters’ human rights.


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