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Market reopens ‘indefinitely’

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Vendors on Monday protest against the closure of Phnom Penh’s Ekreach II market. The owner on Tuesday agreed to reopen the market until talks resume at the end of this year. Photo supplied

Market reopens ‘indefinitely’

Following the Ekreach II market protest on Monday and mediation the next day by the Phnom Penh municipal governor and Por Sen Chey district governor, the Ekreach II market owner has agreed to allow some 100 vendors to run their shops normally while waiting for a final solution by year-end.

The vendors at Ekreach II market in the capital’s Chom Chao III commune, in Por Sen Chey district, had gathered on Monday morning after the market manager closed its gate and banned them from selling goods on national holidays.

Chet, who represents the vendors, told The Post on Tuesday that Ekreach II market owner Prom Sothy agreed to open the market and promised that it will no longer be closed on holidays.

“Through the intervention of a Phnom Penh Municipal Hall representative and the commune chief, the situation is now a bit better and [a market representative claimed the] Sothy had agreed to permit the vendors to run their shops normally."

“However, he [Sothy] said negotiations will be held by early 2019,” said Chet.

He said previously the vendors opened their shops by 5:30am and closed at 8am, but Sothy closed the market on holidays and kept it open till late, affecting vendors’ sales.

“The market owner agreed to open the market as usual, asking vendors to pay $25 for market management services, but he did not promise [during negotiations] that the market will operate this way forever.”

Por Sen Chey district governor Hem Darith said on Tuesday that at the moment, Sothy agreed via his representative Seang to permit the vendors to run their shops as usual until the end of this year, when negotiations are scheduled.

“Now, [Sothy] let the market operate normally and everything will be as usual. At the end of this year, we will figure out how to solve the case,” said Darith.

Narin, a vendor, told The Post that the Monday protest occurred because Sothy did not permit selling on holidays, which is a good day to sell to factory workers.

Following the protest, Sothy did not attend in person and merely sent Seang to inform the vendors that the market will be handed to the vendors to manage by the end of October, a move which is not legally binding.

“[Seang] has closed down the market three times, including on October 29. [Sothy] did not solve the matter and when we asked to meet him, he refused. [He] merely sent [Seang] to inform us that the market will be handed to the vendors to manage,” said Narin.

Sothy could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

All 176 of the market’s shops have been purchased. Sothy’s decision on it remaining open on holidays after handing control to the vendors remains unknown.

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