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Kratie disputants protest in capital

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Protesters from Kratie province attend Samakki Raingsey Pagoda in Phnom Penh on Thursday for blessings after coming to the capital to take their complaints to the Ministry of Land Management. Pha Lina

Kratie disputants protest in capital

Some 300 villagers from Kratie province’s Snuol district protested outside the land management ministry in Phnom Penh on Thursday, calling for a solution to their long-running land dispute with a rubber plantation in the province.

Touch Dul, a representative of the 1,625 families who has been locked in the dispute with Memot Rubber Plantation for eight years, said they had lost trust on the provincial authority.

In March, security forces fired at the protesters, injuring three, burnt their homes and destroyed their agricultural crops.

Dul said the villagers have no land for farming after the company evicted them and built a fence on the disputed land.

“We protested in the province many times but no one cared, so we come here for a solution. A deputy provincial governor came to beg us to return home. We told him we don’t believe the authority anymore,” he said.

Another protester said the villagers requested intervention to stop the firm from clearing the land until there is a solution. Each family is demanding a two-hectare plot.

“The provincial governor had promised that after the national elections they would measure the land for us. But so far there is still no solution. He [the governor] said the authority would only give land to villagers living in the district,” he said.

Provincial deputy governor Hoeu Siyem, who villagers claimed had tried to lure them back to the province for a compromise, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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