K Chhnang Villagers Protest Arrests for 3rd Day

Villagers caught in a land dispute with a minister’s wife gathered outside Kompong Chhnang Provincial Court for a third consecutive day on Thursday, demanding the release of two men jailed over a clash with workers from the well-connected agriculture firm KDC.

About 90 people from Lor Peang village also protested against the summoning of a further eight men to the court in connection with a long-running land dispute with the company, owned by Chea Kheng, the wife of Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem.

Oum Sophy, a village representative, said police blocked their rally about one hour after it began and threatened to arrest them and confiscate a megaphone. Instead, the protesters set up camp next to the courthouse.

“Police asked us to return home, but we refused to go because the court has not yet found justice for all of us,” she said, adding that they planned to march around the city distributing letters today.

Provincial deputy police chief Ly Virak denied that officers threatened to arrest protesters and had only asked them to stop using the megaphone because the noise was interrupting court officials’ work.

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