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Market vendors protest restrictions

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Meat and vegetable vendors at Phsar Chas Market in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district demand the use of street stalls. Hong Menea

Market vendors protest restrictions

About 30 vendors at the Phsar Chas Market in the capital’s Daun Penh district demanded that its management allow products to be sold in stalls next to streets, claiming they were selling items of daily necessity as permitted by the Phnom Pehn Municipal Administration.

Vendors that sold meat, fish and vegetables made the demand while protesting on May 31 in front of the market in the district’s Phsar Chas commune.

Virak Chamnan, a vendor who has two stalls that sells pork and beef, told The Post that shop owners wanted to return to their stalls as municipal hall announced that all state markets could reopen on May 24.

“Since the announcement, my stall has remained shut. According to the municipal hall’s guidelines, we have the right to sell meat and vegetables,” he said.

“At first I agreed to the market manager’s request to be patient, but only 4 to 5 stalls were opened inside the market. But, our stalls remained closed. I asked management to open the other side of the market which has my stalls,” he added.

After a short protest, vendors accepted market management’s decision to allow vendors to sell inside the market, but not at their street stalls, according to Chamnan.

“I am a meat seller, but management asked vendors like me to sell our products inside the market in front of stalls selling clothes where there are not many customers. For example, today I bought 30kg of meat to sell, but I did not even sell one kilogramme,” he said.

Yar Rorsiya, a fish and beef vendor who has worked in the market for more than 10, said vendors agreed to sell their products at the area organised by market management, but if there were no customers, they would protest again.

“We have agreed to sell products for two to three days and see what happens. If there are no customers, we will demand that management open our stalls. Just let sellers return to their stalls facing the road. Customers won’t enter the market because shopping areas are narrow,” she said.

She said she has tested negative for Covid-19 and agreed to take a second test if that is what it takes to return to her stall.

The market management committee chief Yun Channara said he was working on the matter.

“Actually, management wants vendors to sell in the market, but they refuse to sell inside and want conduct business at their street stalls,” he added.

Municipal Hall spokesman Meth Meas Pheakdey could not be reached for comment on May 31.

Municipal administration on May 20 allowed state markets in Phnom Penh to reopen from May 24, except for unofficial markets. All markets that reopen must abide by health measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

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