Vendors selling goods along pavements around Century Plaza market in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district have agreed to stop protesting against the market’s redevelopment, but remain sceptical about the municipal governor’s promise to allow them to continue operating while the work takes place.
Located along Russian Federation Boulevard in Kakab I commune, the authorities reportedly plan to dismantle the market and turn it into a seven-floor supermarket within the next two years.
Work is scheduled to begin early next month, and the vendors had been given three months to move out.
On Wednesday last week, representatives of the vendors and developer Century Group met with Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng to seek a solution after hundreds of vendors had twice gathered to protest and submit petitions to Sreng.
Khin Muoy, who has been selling goods outside the market for about a decade, told The Post on Monday that Sreng promised at the meeting that the vendors could continue to operate during the development.
She said that after he made the claim, all the vendors agreed to stop protesting and went back to work.
But Muoy remained concerned that something might change in the future as the promise had not been made in writing.
“We will protest again if we are told to move when construction starts. We’re afraid of being evicted. We are nervous about it every day and we are not confident because his promise was not made in writing,” she said.
Likewise, 40-year-old vendor Mak Amey told The Post that she wanted clearer confirmation.
Municipal Hall spokesman Meth Meas Pheakdey said on Monday that he had not seen any concerns raised by vendors either inside or outside the meeting with the governor. “Instead, they were happy and accepted the solution,” he said.
The manager of Century Plaza market, who identified himself only as Thol, told The Post the vendors could continue selling their wares around the market for now, but that would change in the future because they were operating on public streets.
However, he could not confirm what measures would be taken, instead referring questions to the municipal hall.
“During construction, the market will be surrounded [by a fence]. People who sell around the market can carry on as usual. The government accepted the vendors’ request. [Prime Minister] Samdech [Hun Sen] already agreed that the vendors could still operate while the market is being reconstructed,” Thol said.
The vendors – who sell goods such as vegetables, fish, meat and rice – protested after the authorities told them they would not find any solution on the grounds that they were operating without a permit.