Villagers Block Highway After Police Raze Homes

Representatives of some 100 families living at the top of a waterfall on the outskirts of Sihanoukville blocked a major highway on Saturday to protest the destruction of their homes and crops by authorities earlier that day, villagers and local officials said Sunday.

At about 6 a.m. Saturday, police, military police and Forestry Administration officials dismantled eight homes located on state land above the popular Kbal Chhay waterfall, said Chheng Samnang, 45.

Mr. Samnang was among 70 villagers who blocked National Road 4 from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, burning tires and holding photos of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany, to draw attention to their cause. “We vow to die for our houses and land,” he said.

Srun Sroan, deputy governor of Preah Sihanouk province, said the protesters agreed to return home after he promised to help them find a solution.

Mr. Sroan said the villagers met with provincial governor Chhit Sokhon on Sunday to discuss the matter further.

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