Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Protest dispersed at Wat Botum

Protest dispersed at Wat Botum

Protest dispersed at Wat Botum

A GROUP of more than 200 demonstrators gathered in front of Wat Botum on Tuesday morning in the hope of delivering a petition bearing the thumbprints of 60,000 villagers affected by land disputes to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

After about two hours, the villagers settled for handing the petition to a representative of the premier’s cabinet before being ushered away by police.

Hor Sam Ath, a representative of the demonstrators, said it was regrettable – but not surprising – that they had not been able to confront Hun Sen directly.

“It would be better if we could explain directly to the prime minister the problems we face as a result of land disputes. Sometimes our cases are buried by officials who do not pass villagers complaints onto him,” he said.

The petition, seen by the Post on Tuesday, quoted speeches dating back to 2004 in which Hun Sen has drawn attention to land-grabbing and other illicit activities.

Nuth Chamreoun, an assistant to Lim Leang Se, the deputy chief of the prime minister’s cabinet, said the villagers – some of whom were holding images of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany – had been told to leave the Wat Botum area because they were an eyesore.

“We could not allow them to stand and hold the prime minister’s photo in a public place,” he said. “It affects the view of Phnom Penh. These people have to understand that it is a city.”

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said on Tuesday that his organisation had recorded 58 new land disputes affecting about 2,830 families in the first five months of this year. These disputes, he added, have led to 40 arrests and one death.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • EU timber deal in firing line

    A committee of more than 20 national and international organisations filed a petition to the EU on October 10 to prevent it from signing a timber trade agreement with Vietnam, noting that the deal would be disastrous to the Kingdom’s forests. The petition claims Vietnamese timber

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters