City Residents Protest Fencing-In of Rek Reay

More than 50 Phnom Penh residents demonstrated Thursday outside Canadia Bank’s head office to demand an end to construction on a fence surrounding homes in Ton-le Bassac commune’s Rek Reay community.

Villagers from the communities around Boeng Kak lake and Tonle Bassac’s Group 78, which face eviction by developers, also took part in the protest.

The protesters handed out leaf-lets reading: “Canadia, please stop surrounding the Rek Reay community’s land: We need fairness and peace of mind.”

However, a bank representative who asked not to be named said Thursday that it is not responsible for the corrugated tin fence, adding that the bank’s only involvement was providing a loan for the private company Bassac Garden City, which plans to de-velop the area.

“It is not Canadia Bank’s obligation to settle with the protesters,” he said, adding that he was told by Tonle Bassac commune chief Khat Narith that, “the commune has taken administrative measures in an area where villagers have al-ready sold their land.”

Khat Narith said Thursday that he was too busy studying for an ex-am to answer questions.

Village representative Heng Samphos said Thursday that some Rek Reay residents have sold their land for $20,000 in compensation, but the remaining families feel constricted by the fence.

“Normally, a house has a door. They have closed that, and now I feel that we have no air to breathe,” he said.

One resident who asked not to be named said at the protest that construction on the fence began almost a week ago.

She said that the compensation scheme is unfair. “I don’t agree with the company, because I have a large plot of land, and the company has offered the same compensation to everyone,” she said.

Deputy Municipal Governor Mann Chhoeun said Thursday that he was not aware of the protest be-cause he was busy all day, and was unaware of the fence being built.

Representatives from Bassac Garden City could not be reached for comment Thursday.


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