The Apsara Authority has taken a strong stance against illegal construction activity within the Angkor Archaeological Park, maintaining that the authority and Siem Reap police will go ahead with efforts to demolish unauthorised construction sites even after some 100 owners protested last Friday.
Apsara previously warned owners involved in the 523 cases of illegal construction sites, including some that were taking place just 50 metres away from the ancient temples, to halt activity and dismantle their structures by last week or have their sites cleared by the police.
The owners staged a protest on Friday and blocked a road leading to Angkor Wat for several hours, said Men Kimsuor from rights group Licadho.
“Villagers are not happy with the measure of the Apsara Authority, so they protested against it,” he said.
According to Kimsuor, many villagers took out loans for the construction during the campaign period for the commune elections, and the authorities did not appear to have attempted to stop them. He added that the intervention should have come when construction first started.
Apsara spokesman Long Kosal said yesterday that some villagers have volunteered to dismantle the structures themselves after being informed by officials to stop all construction, but many resisted. “The demolition will not be paused. We are still calling for the owners to dismantle and follow the law.”
He added that the Apsara Authority is unaware of any loans and said officials have not demolished any structures yet.