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Displaced Otres vendors protest

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Vendors gather in Phnom Penh to protest the removal of their stalls from Otres beach in Sihanoukville on Monday. Photo supplied

Displaced Otres vendors protest

More than 50 vendors from Otres beach in Sihanoukville on Monday protested outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house in the capital, seeking a solution and compensation after their stalls were dismantled by provincial authorities.

Sou Chy, a representative of the vendors, said they gathered because they disagreed with the provincial hall’s move.

He said the goal of the protest was to seek intervention from Hun Sen so that they are properly compensated and provided with a new location to sell goods.

“A representative from the prime minister’s cabinet came out and accepted our documents. We petitioned to seek intervention from Samdech Hun Sen. This includes our lawsuit about what we lost from the bulldozing and dismantlement by the provincial authority,” she said.

Chy said they also demanded that the provincial authority issue them land titles. “The provincial authority must provide some solutions. Some of us have been doing business at Otres for more than 10 or 20 years,” she said.

Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearum said a total of 156 stalls were dismantled as the area was cleaned up.

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Authorities speak with the protesting vendors. Photo supplied

“It is their right to protest, but we are cleaning the area to beautify it in the public interest and attract local and international tourists,” he said.

The provincial hall has cleared a total of 282 stalls at Otres 1, Otres 2 and Ochheuteal beaches since January 15.

Lawyer Ly Chantola said according to the law, when people live on state land, the state does not need to pay compensation. In addition, the state could sue them.

“If there is no ownership of the land, the land belongs to the state. The land law says that it is illegal for any individual to control and live on state land,” he said.

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