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Vendors hold fresh protests

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090305_03.jpg

Fish sellers continue to defy a ban on trading along sidewalks adjacent

to Olympic Market, despite government warnings that they abandon the

practice.

Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN 

Fish vendors attempt to sell their wares outside houses near the Olympic market.

HUNDREDS of Olympic Market fish vendors held more protests Wednesday, when local authorities arrived to crack down on violations of a ban on selling along sidewalks near the market.

May Kim Seak, a representative for the fish sellers, said that Tuol Svay Prey I district authorities came to confiscate wares that were being sold in houses near the market, calling the vendors "stubborn" for continuing to protest.

"They banned us from selling along the sidewalk, so we sold from inside the houses," she said. "We don't have guns like they do, but we have canes and stones to fight them back."

San Y, another representative, said that after confiscating sidewalk stalls belonging to the vendors, police banned local house owners from allowing them to sell from their properties.

"They have done violence to us without end because they known that we are powerless. Without business, we won't have anything to fill our stomachs." he said.

"We are protesting against the authority's orders because of hunger."

House owner Eung Thong said that authorities arrived at 3pm and made them thumbprint documents and agree not to allow their houses to be used for unofficial commerce for fear of punishment.

Chamkarmon district police Chief Uch Sokhon said that the authorities had provided vendors with new stores and that they were being "stubborn" in persisting to protest against the ban on sidewalk trading around Olympic Market. "We ordered our police to confiscate their vegetables and keep them at the Tuol Svay Prey I police station. They told them they should move to sell at their new stores and that we won't allow them to sell along the street," he said.

Tuol Svay Prey commune Chief Ly Pu said that the vendors had to stop the "culture of sidewalk business" and that the street should not be treated like a market.

"Even though they try to protest, they will still not get back the right to sell on the sidewalk," he said.

"We are not responsible for them losing their profits. They must stop selling there."

Authorities sent a letter to Olympic Market fish sellers February 2, warning them to clear footpaths around the market by February 22.

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