A crowd of vendors from three Sihanoukville beaches gathered yesterday in front of Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall to protest a recent government order that they vacate within a month or face forced eviction.
If vendors at Otres and Ochheauteal beaches, as well as the beach in front of the old royal residence, have not vacated by March 13, authorities will force them out, according to a letter from provincial authorities and the National Committee for Beach Management and Development.
While the government has vowed in the past to crack down on hotels that have restricted public access to beaches or constructed illegal encroachments within 50 metres of the shoreline, the new letter applies only to vendors.
Ek Vithean, speaking for the merchants, who represented about 160 operations, said that they wished for the government to provide them with “new stores” if they were going to evict them.
“The authority said that they want to clean up the beach, but we will lose our jobs,” he said, adding that vendors planned to travel to Phnom Penh on Thursday to seek intervention from Hun Sen if their conditions were not met by then.
Provincial Governor Yun Min said that while he would seek a fair solution for the vendors, authorities had asked vendors to leave the beach many times in the past.