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Petrol price protest

Petrol price protest

AROUND one hundred angry protesters paraded through Phnom Penh on September 24

demanding the Government reduce the price of petroleum, electricity and

water.

The protesters - mainly motorcycle taxi drivers and garment

workers - marched to Independence Monument carrying banners accusing the

Government of corruption and ignoring the wishes of the electorate.

The

protesters wanted petrol prices to be reduced from 2,300 riel ($0.56) a liter

down to 1,500 riel ($0.38).

"The poor like us face increased difficulties

in our living condition when the price of gasoline keeps increasing," said

37-year-old motorcycle taxi driver Yord Yorn.

"We need the Government to

help us."

Yorn said the Government was corrupt from the lowest to the

highest levels. He said high-ranking officials were not affected by the price

hike because they never paid for gasoline - they just took it.

"I think

that this Government doesn't know how much the gasoline price is in this country

because they don't pay money for their transport," said Yorn.

He accused

politicians of visiting the poor when they needed their votes but ignoring them

once they were in power.

"We have protested three times already but they

have always ignored our demands."

Another protester, Rith Sovan, said

petrol in Cambodia was more expensive than in Thailand, yet the Government

always said the price was set by the international market, which he believed was

illogical.

"If the Government follows international standards why does

Cambodia sell gasoline at a higher price than other countries?"

The

President of the Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia,

Chea Vichea, said another demonstration was planned for October 21-23, which

coincided with the anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords.

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