Monday, April 9, 2012

Villagers to continue road block

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About 700 villagers in Kratie province’s Kampong Damrei commune will continue their protests today to persuade provincial authorities to release one of their representatives, villagers said yesterday. 


Representative Bun Sithet said the villagers, who are involved in a land dispute with Kasotim company, would protest outside the provincial prison and court. 

If the provincial governor and local authorities did not release representative Bun Ratha after two hours, villagers would move to block the road from Kratie town to Chhlong district, he said.  

“This time we would rather die at the protest place. We will not return home and open the road for traffic if our representative is not released,” he said. 

About 200 villagers protested on Friday and blocked the road after Bun Ratha was arrested at his house, Bun Sithet said. 

Ly Hout, Kasotim representative, said his company had filed a complaint against Bun Ratha because he had incited villagers to burn the company branch office on March 12.

“We have enough evidence to show the court . . . villagers have never respected the law,” he said. 

In 2008, Kasotim was granted a land concession of more than 15,000 hectares in the area.

According to Ouch Leng, land reform project coordinator for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, villagers blocked roads a total of 32 times last year in protest.