Hundreds of vendors at Siem Reap’s Phsar Krom market protested on Friday against their impending move to a new private market, where many fear they will be charged steep stall rental prices.
Ros Pisey, a noodle seller from the market, said today that the protesters went to protest at the provincial hall to get answers about a proposed move from Phsar Krom.
“The provincial governor said that all the vendors who are selling at Phsar Krom market have moved into the private market nearby, but they did not inform us about the date yet,” she said.
She said that vendors were surprised by the announcement, saying they feared they would be pressured to do business in the private market.
“They want us to move to the private market so that we will spend more money for renting stalls and we will get pressure from the market owner,” she said.
Ros Pisey said provincial officials told protesters that the new market’s owner would not charge any stall rental prices for four years, but that sellers did not believe the owner, “because they can change their mind every minute, since it is their market”.
Phsar Krom market was founded in 2003 by vendors, who rented the land and built it themselves with the permission of former provincial governor Ong Oeun, who is now the governor of Banteay Meanchey province.
Ros Pisey said, “We won’t move to the new market, even if the authorities force or arrest us or take any measure...we will all come to ask for intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen to help us, because we consider him like our parents.”
Another vendor, who only gave her name as Nary, said the authorities did not give any more details about the date for the proposed move, nor about their plans for the old market.
She also threatened that protestors were ready to take their grievances to the prime minister.
Tep Bunchhay, the governor of Siem Reap town, said today that officials had informed the vendors about the proposed move to the new market.
“We want them to move to the new market because we want to develop the old market by building a pipe system and a creek to make it look good for the environment,” he said.
He added that the old market has no garbage disposal facilities and insufficient parking space, but that the new market – to be situated about 200 metres away from Phsar Krom – would be better equipped.
“We will pay them for their stalls… but I don’t know how much they will get,” Tep Bunchhay said.