Land-Grab Protesters Head Back to Provinces

By Pin Sisovann

the cambodia daily

Villagers from three of four provinces who were camped in front of the National Assembly protesting what they call unfair land practices went home on Friday, but they vowed to return to Phnom Penh if their disputes are not resolved, officials said.

Vong Darin, assistant to Nat­ional Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, said the Assembly, the Phnom Penh mun­i­ci­pality and provincial authorities provided the protesters food and transportation worth roughly 4 million riel ($1,000).

He said more than 100 protesters from Kompong Speu, Kampot and Koh Kong headed back to their home villages, while those from Kompong Thom will stay behind and instead send representatives ahead of them first.

“We do not feel confident [that our dispute will be resolved] after failing two times,” said Un Thy, a Kompong Thom resident. He said fishermen in his commune can fish off of someone else’s land but have to sell their fish to the land’s owner for a fraction of its market value.

Arguing that big businessmen have bought up all land worthy of fish­ing, Un Thy expressed pessimism that any negotiating could resolve the dispute. But he said he was willing to stay in Phnom Penh.

The Kompong Thom group was joined Friday by a group of roughly 100 protesters from Kan­dal province requesting flood aid. “People have no place to live,” he said Friday.


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