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Protesters decry ‘land grabbing’

About 300 protesters from Svay Rieng and Preah Sihanouk provinces marched to parliament yesterday to file petitions urging the local authorities to intervene to resolve ongoing land disputes in their homelands.

Farmers from Takeo province joined the demonstrators in a show of solidarity, while a further 200 protesters from a farming community were blocked from marching to the capital by Svay Rieng’s Romeas Hek district authorities, community representative Va Phea said.

The more than 1,700 Svay Rieng families claim that firms NK Venture and Peam Cheang Rubber Plantation Company, owned by tycoon An Marady, had not provided adequate compensation and the authorities have not issued land titles.

NK Venture pledged to plant sugarcane on its concession in 2009 and return some of the land to displaced families.

“The company has acted contrary to what it pledged,” Phea said.

Meanwhile, 106 families from Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district petitioned against the Yeejia Development Company, which was granted a 3,300-hectare concession in 2009.

Officials from the National Assembly’s human rights and anti-corruption commissions received the petitions yesterday.

Company representatives could not be reached.

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