Expressing fear for their future safety and security, about 50 people representing 226 families from Chamkar Mon and Tuol Kok districts protested Wednesday in front of Phnom Penh City Hall.
The families, whose houses along streets 271, 230, and 231 are being torn down to make way for the Phnom Penh highway extension, asked Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara to relocate them responsibly.
“The government has said they want to help the poor. I sell cooked rice at Phsar Daum Kor and make about 3000 riel ($0.75) a day. If they move me far away, I will lose my business and have no schools nearby for my two children,” said Mam Yam, 51, from Tuol Kok district.
Officials proposed Dangkao and Russei Keo districts as relocation areas, but the displaced families complained that the new locations were over 15 and 25 km from the city, respectively, and flooded easily.
Protesters said they had proposed two alternative locations in Phnom Penh Thmei commune in Russei Keo district and Krang Thnong commune in Dangkao district with better infrastructure and job opportunities.
Pum Oun, the representative for Chamkar Mon families, said the Phnom Penh Cabinet Chief had told the families that the authorities did not have the money to fund their alternate plan, and that the families should stick to the idea proposed by government officials.
“We have asked the authorities to provide us with the $18,000 [given to them by the Mong Reththy company, which is doing the construction work],” said Pum Oun, who said the families were requesting an additional $400 from the Urban Poor Development Fund.
A notice sent out on Monday from the Tuol Kok district chief ordered the families to move out by Friday, or be forcibly removed.