Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Roadblock ends as protesters succumb to drivers' demands

Roadblock ends as protesters succumb to drivers' demands

Roadblock ends as protesters succumb to drivers' demands

It took angry motorists rather than government officials or police officers to persuade more than 200 protesting villagers to clear road 48 in Koh Kong province yesterday morning after they blocked it for almost 24 hours, a human rights group representative said.

The villagers, involved in a long-running dispute over land granted to a company allegedly owned by tycoon senator Ly Yong Phat, cut down trees early on Saturday morning and slept in between the wood when night fell in Sre Ambel district’s Chi Khor Leu commune, according to In Kongchit, a coordinator with human rights group Licadho.

“They decided to open the road at 4am because many drivers and passengers were angry and threatened to complain because fruit vehicles could not cross the road,” he said.

“They were afraid the fruit would be spoiled.”

District governer Tuon Seila had offered to negotiate with the villagers on Saturday – an offer they had rejected because they wanted to speak with Ly Yong Phat, court officials and the provincial governor, In Kongchit, said.

“They didn’t want to block the road, but they had no choice because all their complaints were ignored. There was no solution for them.”

Provincial governor Bun Leut said he had invited the protesters’ representatives to provincial hall for discussions, but they had not come.

Protester Chhy Thy said villagers wanted the court to process their complaint quickly and resolve their land issue.

“The court says ‘please wait’ and to give them more evidence, but when we show evidence, there is no action,” she said. “However, we opened the road because we didn’t want drivers and their passengers waiting or for their fruit to be spoiled.”

Ing Kongchit said the protesters had asked the court to cancel the concession of land to Ly Yong Phat because he had been involved in two companies that had been granted 10,000 or more hectares, which villagers said was against the law.

Provincial court judge Heng Kesro and Ly Yong Phat could not be reached for comment yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all