About 30 former residents of the Boeng Kak community submitted a petition on Friday morning to the World Bank office and several embassies in Phnom Penh, calling for a halt to all funding for longtime anti-eviction protesters from the Boeng Kak area.
The Boeng Kak counter-protesters accused Tep Vanny, the well-known spokeswoman of the Boeng Kak anti-eviction activists, of fomenting incitement, and accused several NGOs of supporting her work.
“Tep Vanny has incited people—both young and old, to stand up in order to benefit herself by protesting in public,” the counter-protesters said in their letter, adding that “some NGOs have helped her plans to cause public disorder.”
The counter-protesters’ statement, which bore the signatures of 67 people, also said that the Boeng Kak community has not been affected by land concessions and accused Ms. Vanny of twisting reality.
Speaking in front of the European Union mission office on Norodom Boulevard, 49-year-old Vong Sok Heng, one of the counter-protester representatives, said that NGOs are the driving force behind the Boeng Kak anti-eviction protests.
“NGOs like the Housing Rights Task Force, Samakum Theang Tnaut and Bridges for Peace have been supporting the people and inciting them to protest,” Ms. Sok Heng said.
Housing Rights Task Force secretariat director Sia Phirium confirmed that his NGO has provided legal consultation and aid to the Boeng Kak anti-eviction activists.
Eang Vuthy, executive director of Equitable Cambodia, which is a local organization supported by Bridges for Peace, said that it is civil society’s responsibility to work for human rights and democracy in Cambodia.
“We’ve helped to protect human rights and have given legal education [to the Boeng Kak anti-eviction protesters],” he said.