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Vendors demand border reopening

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Lorries and other vehicles move slowly from the Poipet international border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province. Supplied

Vendors demand border reopening

Vendors are demanding to reopen the Poipet international border checkpoint but a planned protest involving 1,500 people was cancelled by Banteay Meanchey governor Um Reatrey.

Din Puthy, the head of the Cambodia Informal Economy Reinforced Association was behind the demonstration by businessmen and vendors at Rong Kluea, Aranyaprathet District, Sa Kaeo Province, Thailand.

Participants were supposed to include cart workers and vendors, and moto, taxi and tuk-tuk drivers.

“This demonstration is to reopen the Poipet – Klong Luek International Border Checkpoint to do business at the Aranyaprathet District, Sa Kaeo Province,” he said.

He said if Thailand does not reopen the border, he has requested the Banteay Meanchey governor not to allow any goods or trucks from Thailand to enter Cambodia.

Reatrey responded to Puthy that his administration will not allow the demonstration because the government is preventing the spread of Covid-19.

He said preventing a second wave meant prohibiting any gathering or events until September. Reatrey said concession had been made for the vendors.

“So far, the Banteay Meanchey provincial administration has worked with the Sa Kaeo administration in Thailand not to charge stall rental fees and to let at least 20 businessmen with stalls in the Rong Kluea market visit their stalls,” he said.

Puthy told The Post on Monday that upon receiving the response letter from the governor, his association will withdraw its protest plan.

However, he said businessmen who have stalls at Rong Kluea market will continue their demonstration as scheduled. “Continuing their demonstration or not is the right of the businessmen in Poipet,” he said.

Thun Toeu, a businessman who has a stall at the market told The Post that his living standard had decreased because he could not do any business to support his family.

“We will continue our demonstration as scheduled even though there is no participation by the association. If we don’t do it, we are going to die,” he said.

Toeu singled out cart workers as particularly vulnerable because they hardly earn 10,000 riel ($2.50) per day.

He said if the government does not consider their plight, there will be thieves everywhere because poor people do not have any money to support themselves. “If the Poipet International Border Checkpoint does not re-open, we cannot survive,” he said.


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