About 300 market vendors came to Phnom Penh Monday to protest the military police’s destruction of the Siem Reap market, which is to be renovated.
Protesters say the Leu market is about 70 percent destroyed, but they want to save the rest and keep the market where it is, despite an order from the local government to move the stalls.
“We are here today to meet [National Assembly President] Prince Norodom Ranariddh and… [First Vice President of the National Assembly] Heng Samrin to solve the problem for us,” vendor Tan Savy said. The new market area is smaller than the old 20,000-square-meter market, he said, so relocation impossible.
About 800 vendors protested at the Siem Reap government office last week, but authorities continued the move, protesters said.
“We have had no stalls to sell from since July 10,” said Roth Mom, who has sold kitchen utensils at the Leu market since 1979.
Authorities plan to continue with the move despite protests, said Keang Soum, deputy provincial police chief in Siem Reap.
“We’ve fenced off the market,” he said. “Now there are only 82 stalls to knock down….We vow to finish this week.”
Those stalls are all that remains of the original 1,027 booths, he said, and their owners have joined a committee to solve the dispute.
On July 11, three members of parliament, Thou Hay of the CPP, Son Chhay of the Sam Rainsy Party and Funcinpec lawmaker Khin Yean, went to Siem Reap to discuss the problem with officials.