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Kampong Speu Villagers Protest Land Loss

Twenty-six families in Phnom Sruoc town, Kampong Speu province, are protesting a decision by the provincial court late last week that they dismantle their homes and leave the land they are occupying.

The villagers say commune authorities colluded with merchants to sell the land from under them and they will not leave on such short notice.

The court ordered July 20 the families leave their homes, but villagers say they have a legal right to the land they are occupying near Kirirom National Park.

An opposition lawmaker from the area, Nuth Rumduol, said the court hid notices from the people along with plans to destroy their homes.

The court itself was violating the law, he said.

"I think it is illegal, and you use the law yourself, and you violate the law," he said. "What do you want to people to rely on?"