Protesters Gather Over Looming Eviction in Russei Keo

Nearly 60 people representing 93 families gathered outside of Phnom Penh’s City Hall yesterday to protest against the loss of their homes and land due to an expansion project on National Road 6A in Russei Keo district.

The protest came a day after Russei Keo deputy governor Kob Sles notified 50 of the 93 homeowners from Chroy Changva and Prek Leap communes that they had to leave their present locations by Sunday or the local authorities would forcibly remove them, said Som Sovanrith, a representative for the group.

“We staged the protest [yesterday] because the district authorities warned they would take administrative measures by bulldozing or demolishing our homes after the week-long period [after the meeting] has passed,” Mr Sovanrith said.

During meeting on Monday, district authorities offered each family a 6-by -12-meter plot of land in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district, Mr Sovanrith added.

Another representative, Soeng Phon, said the relocation site had no water or electricity and added that the protesters had submitted a request to the municipal inspection office for $8,500, plus $500 for each family or a plot of land near downtown Phnom Penh so that they have access to jobs and education for their children.

“I am preparing to forward the villagers’ demands to [municipal Governor Kep Chuktema] so he can make a decision,” Hok Huor Lim, chief of the municipal inspection office, said yesterday.

Mr Sles said yesterday that he had told the representatives that the deadline for leaving was Sunday but declined to explain what may happen to the families that stay beyond Sunday. He also said 12 of the 93 families had already accepted the compensation package.

“We need to set the date for them or otherwise it will take a long time to remove them,” Mr Sles said.

Protester Chip Srey said yesterday that the villagers would unite and gather in front of their homes in order to stop district authorities from removing them.

“Such a resolution is not acceptable,” she said. “We want to be compensated fairly like the Boeng Kak villagers.”


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