Police failed in their attempt to keep an estimated 200 vendors from entering Kratie City’s Pheloeu market on Thursday, erecting barricades to keep the fish and vegetable seller out in a bid to force them to move to a newly-built market 50 meters away.
Kratie City police chief O Sam Ang said the confrontation, which began at 2 a.m., ended later in the morning when, after a standoff lasting a number of hours, police allowed the vendors to return to their stalls at Pheloeu market.
“We only had seven police put up the barricades to prevent them [from going to sell in the market], not the dozens of policemen that vendors claim,” Mr. Sam Ang said.
Heou Si Yem, Kratie provincial deputy governor, said authorities wanted to move the vendors to the new market because the provincial government wanted to turn the old market area into a public garden.
The vendors at Pheloeu are resisting their eviction because of the high fees imposed at the new market, said Heng Phearak, an investigator at local human rights group Adhoc in Kratie province.
According to Mr. Phearak, early last year the vendors were moved to another nearby market, Samaki, but due to high rents and other conditions, they quickly moved back to Pheloeu market.