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Railway communities protest over eviction fears

People gather outside Phnom Penh City Hall yesterday in an effort to meet the governor to voice their concerns about a development project.
People gather outside Phnom Penh City Hall yesterday in an effort to meet the governor to voice their concerns about a development project. Pech Sotheary

Railway communities protest over eviction fears

About 100 people from nine communities along a discontinued railway line due to be turned into a road from the Phnom Penh railway station to Kilometre 6 in Russey Keo district went to City Hall demanding answers yesterday.

The group’s representative, Horn Pov, said the residents were worried about losing their houses. They delivered two petitions in May and June demanding a public forum about the project, but have not received a reply and feel that officials are ignoring them.

“There is no answer, and we have not met [City Governor] Pa Socheatvong, so we will ask for clarification from him to know about the development and what the people will get,” Pov said.

The residents began to protest after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the project in April to reduce congestion in the area.

City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey could not be reached for comment yesterday. The group plans to protest again soon.

Separately yesterday, 400 people from 19 communities in Preah Sihanouk province gathered in front of the provincial hall to demand solutions for a variety of land disputes, some of which have been going on for years.

“Some cases have reached the courts, but there is not any solution, which is why the people are protesting again,” said Nhil Pheap, representative of a farmers’ alliance.

Sihanoukville Governor Yun Min, responding to the protesters, said that the municipality would create a joint commission to measure the land and solve the problem for the victims.

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