More than 100 women from Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak community clashed with police on Monday as they protested in front of CPP headquarters and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house for the release of anti-eviction activist Yorm Bopha and land titles they say have been granted to them by law.
Ms. Bopha was sentenced to three years in jail in September for allegedly ordering an attack on two motorcycle-taxi drivers. Demarcation of the villagers’ land has not yet started despite an August 2011 subdecree signed by Mr. Hun Sen promising them 12.44 hectares of the private development belonging to Shukaku Inc.
After protesting outside the CPP headquarters for about an hour and getting no response, the women marched north along Norodom Boulevard to Mr. Hun Sen’s house near Independence Monument, where they were met with 40 police officers who had set up barricades on the corner of Street 294.As they attempted to move past the barricades, some of the protesters sustained injuries, said protester Bou Chhorvy, who had blood trickling down her face after receiving a blow from a police officer’s shield.
“I think this is very brutal and this activity is being carried out by the CPP ruling party, who have used armed forces to beat villagers,” Ms. Chhorvy said.
“The CPP have tricked the people to get their votes—they haven’t solved any of the problems stemming from development without transparency,” said Sung Sreyleap, another protester. At City Hall on Monivong Boulevard, another group of about 100 former Boeng Kak residents gathered to submit requests from 375 families asking for donations to solve financial problems caused by the eviction.
Im Sreytouch, a representative for the former residents, said they had requested help with their debts on March 21, and municipal governor Kep Chuktema had told them to submit their current home addresses to authorities. “City Hall promised that they will solve our problems and they will visit us at our homes,” Ms. Sreytouch said, adding that the former residents will wait 10 days for the city authorities to respond.