Dozens of land-dispute demonstrators blocked National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk province yesterday, burning tyres in protest of a resettlement site that they said was too small.
The protesters had previously been living around the Kbal Chhay waterfall and had been told to move to a relocation site inside the city after it was determined they had been occupying state land, said Sihanoukville police chief Phoul Phorsda.
“They blocked the road from 8:30am until 10:30am, but it was open as usual after we resolved it with them,” Phorsda said, insisting that the dispute had simply been because residents “did not understand” the deal, but “now they had agreed to wait for the authorities to handle it for them”.
“They had been incited to believe that they would not get land,” he added.
Buon Narith, provincial coordinator for rights group Licadho, however, said the protest had been over the relocation site’s size, which demonstrators deemed too small, adding that kicking the villagers off the land surrounding the tourist attraction would do little good if “the state does not prevent the deforestation” in the area.