Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Boeung Kak villagers protest in chains

Boeung Kak villagers, bound in chains to symbolise their enduring struggle, marched through the streets of Phnom Penh yesterday in their latest quest to have their land woes resolved

More than 100 protesters walked past the city hall towards the US and Japanese embassies with their chained-up village representatives – depicted as criminals – calling for the 12.44 hectares of land at Boeung Kak the government granted to 794 families last year to be clearly marked.

Village representative Tep Vanny told the Post the chains were used as a statement that their right to protect their houses was being denied.

“What we are doing is revealing to our compatriots and the international community that we are the land dispute ‘criminals’ who have been protecting the 12.44 hectares of land granted by the government,” she said.

Village representative Heng Mom said she was among a group of Boeung Kak protesters who had been arrested and detained in police custody in recent times and later charged with objecting to the orders of public officials.

“Nowadays, I am a land dispute criminal in a jail without walls,” she said.

More than 50 residents from the Borei Keila community also marched to pressure development firm Phan Imex to build the remaining two buildings it had promised in 2004 to construct.

The company has built only eight of the 10 it agreed to.

Tep Vanny said the protesters would march with factory workers today as part of International Labour Day demonstrations, and would continue their protest for the rest of this week.