Vendors Take Market Stall Protest to PM’s Home

More than 100 vendors who operate outside Phnom Penh’s Olympic Market protested Mon­day at Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Takhmau town home in an effort to get the premier to strike down a municipal order for the removal of their stalls.

According to a Nov 18 order signed by Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema, 123 stalls set up on the sidewalk around the market must move.

The protesting vendors claim that market officials only told them on Friday that they had to clear out by Monday, though no deadline was given in Kep Chuktema’s order.

O’Russei Deputy District Gov­ernor Kim Chhun Ou said he was uncertain when the vendors would have to move.

District Governor Lou Yuy said that if the vendors had a problem with the removal order they should submit a letter to the district authority and not travel outside town to protest.

“I don’t know what they can get from going anywhere” to protest, he said.

Noun Kim Hao, 40, continued selling bags of dried seafood outside the market Monday while his wife protested in Takhmau.

He said he’d been selling in the same spot for 10 years and pays $20 every month to the company running the market for his spot on the sidewalk.

“We cannot sleep at night be­cause we’re thinking about what we will do if we lose this place,” he said.

Ouy Sambath, a representative of the Thai Bun Rong Company, which manages the market, said that his company wants the vendors to continue to sell outside the market.

“The company doesn’t want to stop them, but also, the company doesn’t have the means to help them,” he said.

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