Boeung Kak lake residents dragged scarecrows representing corrupt officials through Phnom Penh yesterday – and later burned them to exorcise evil spirits they said festered inside the scarecrows’ human counterparts.
Others in the group of about 100 carried banners and shouted through megaphones as the effigies were dragged along Preah Monivong Boulevard to the Ministry of Finance and Phnom Penh municipal hall.
Chanting “Corrupt and unfaithful officials and cheaters will be as ruined as these dragged scarecrows”, the residents appealed to municipal authorities to end confusion by erecting posts around the 12.44 hectares of land designated for residents at Boeung Kak lake.
Doung Kea, 43, from village 22 in Srah Chak commune, said people were confused because authorities refused to explain where the 12.44 hectares of land granted by Prime Minister Hun Sen last August was.
“I think individuals and corrupt officials who want to exploit us are stopping this.”
Protesters walked to the Daun Penh district hall, where they tied nooses around the scarecrows’ necks and attached them to the front gate.
A district official said he had invited representatives into the hall for a discussion, but the group refused to be split up.
When no resolution came from authorities, the protesters dragged the effigies back to Boeung Kak lake to burn them.
The disfigured scarecrows were set ablaze on land awarded to development firm Shukako in village 22, villager representative Tep Vanny said.
The scarecrows had been turned to ash to expel the evil spirits that were inside corrupt officials, she said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophachakrya at firstname.lastname@example.org