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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funeral puts protests on hold

Funeral puts protests on hold

Sovanna Shopping Centre vendors protest while en route to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Takhmao residence on Thursday.

Death of Senate President Chea Sim's wife delays demonstrations by vendor groups.

VENDORS from Sovanna Shopping Centre and the Borei Keila community both delayed protests scheduled for Monday, saying government officials would be occupied with the funeral of Nhem Soeun, the wife of Senate President Chea Sim, who passed away Friday.

The Sovanna vendors had planned to meet at City Hall to protest high rents in the shopping mall.

"We want to go to protest today, but we delayed it because we don't want to disturb City Hall officers," said a Sovanna clothing vendor who gave her name as MC.

She added that the vendors wanted to follow up a protest held Thursday at Hun Sen's house, when the prime minister's cabinet chief promised to pass vendors' grievances onto municipal officials.

Sok Pao, another clothes seller, said the vendors would still hold protests in front of City Hall, during which they would request that the shopping centre management reduce rents by 30 percent until the world economic situation stabilises.

"We are not animals. We can negotiate face to face, and they don't need police and military police to threaten us," he told the Post, though he did not specify a date for the protest.

Chesda Metrey, the head of Sovanna Shopping Centre, declined to comment Monday.

Meanwhile, vendors at Phnom Penh's Borei Keila community had also planned a protest at Prime Minister Hun Sen's Kandal province home on Monday after they were prevented from selling their goods under apartments at the site.

The vendors were evicted from shops on the ground floor of the apartments to make way for a market development planned by Phanimex, a developer.

"We planned to go protest in front of the prime minister's house today, but we delayed it because today is a busy day for government officials," said Chea Ying, a Borei Keila vendor, who added that the protest had been rescheduled for Wednesday.

"We will ask him to intervene to stop the company's development project at the site. We hope he will help us."

But Keo Sakal, the chief of Prampi Makara district's Veal Vong commune, said the project would be good for the region.

"We cooperated with the Phanimex company to develop a market and parking spaces because this place is anarchic," he said.

"[Vendors] are trying to protest because they heard a rumour that we had sold the ground floor to the company, and that the company will not rent it to them."



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