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Villagers: road blocked on way to PM’s speech

Villagers: road blocked on way to PM’s speech

Nearly 300 villagers in Tbong Khmum province locked in a land dispute with the Memot Rubber Plantation Co were blocked by authorities yesterday from taking their case to Prime Minister Hun Sen, who was giving a speech in the area, village representatives said.

Prom Danet, a representative of Knorng Kropeu Kert village, said yesterday that some 300 villagers from Memot district representing 634 families attempted to travel to the premier’s speech, but authorities blocked the road.

“We are very disappointed, because we had wanted to show our concerns to Samdech [Hun Sen] personally,” she said.

Un Sucheng, a representative, said villagers had lost faith in authorities to settle the dispute.

Villagers say they were visited last month by an attorney for Memot Rubber who gave them two choices – accept resettlement or pay rent – neither of which they found acceptable.

Chhit Boravuth, the attorney, could not be reached yesterday.

Om Monyvan, chief of police in Ponhea Krek district, said that the roadblocks weren’t there to stop villagers, but were simply routine vehicle inspection checkpoints.

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