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Market intervention leads to clash

Siem Reap province
A GROUP of 20 civilian and military police officers yesterday clashed with vendors at Psar Leu market in Siem Reap town, after officials tried settle a dispute involving vendors who were kicked out of the market earlier this year.

Roughly 40 banana sellers were among a group of 100 vendors evicted from spaces near the market in February after authorities said their presence was causing disorder, and that the area was needed for parking.

Yesterday, the banana vendors returned to the site to claim spaces they said they had been promised, but which have been occupied in the seven months since the eviction.

Oeun Pov, deputy governor of Siem Reap town, said the clash occurred after a pregnant vendor – occupying one of the spaces claimed by the displaced banana vendors – began to fight with him when he asked her to leave the market temporarily.

“We told her to remove her belongings, but she refused and began to fight us,” Oeun Pov said. “The clash happened with me. Whenever we try to do anything, there is an impact because vendors try to stop us.”

Thann Navy, who said she purchased one of the spaces claimed by the evictees, said her 56-year-old mother, Pin Daung, was injured by an umbrella in the altercation. Officials did not report any injuries.

Thann Navy and other vendors said that, after the February eviction, they paid Sang Naren, the market’s executive director, US$1,000 for the
right to sell goods on 2-metre plots of land that had been cleared. Sang Naren could not be reached for comment yesterday.

“I will not let someone else sell at my place,” Thann Navy said. “If the banana vendors come to sell here, I will fight because I have been selling here for a long time.”

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