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Land Demonstrators Briefly Close Main Road

Hundreds of villagers stopped traffic on National Route 4 Friday as they continued a sustained demonstration in a land dispute with a powerful government official.

The 500 villagers are protesting a court decision to detain two men accused of burning the temporary offices of the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, which is owned by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat.

Villagers, who clashed with police twice as they demonstrated outside the provincial court this week, say the company has pushed them off their land and have demanded the court release their representatives, Yu Tho and Khim Rithy.

The demonstration moved to the highway Friday, blocking traffic for at least two hours, said Am Sam Ath, head of the investigation unit for the rights group Licadho.

“We blocked the road today because we want to pressure the provincial court to release two people,” said Luy Houch, a 42-year-old protester.