PHNOM PENH —
Phnom Penh police dispersed a protest with water canons from three separate fire trucks on Wednesday, after failing to negotiate with housing rights protesters.
At least one person was knocked unconscious and several others were injured.
“They should not have used the fire engines to hurt us at all,” said protester Kong Chantha, from the Boeung Kak lake neighborhood. “I’m very disappointed and hopeless and no longer trust them to solve our problems.”
The protesters have been holding regular demonstrations against what they see as unfair evictions to make way for big-money developments in the capital. Such demonstrations have regularly led to clashes with police, but rarely are the water canons set on demonstrators.
“The use of the fire engines to disperse us was an attempt to kill the people of Boeung Kak, Borei Keila and Thmor Kol,” outspoken activist Tep Vanny, who was recently awarded for her work, told VOA Khmer.
Wednesday’s clash comes not long after the appointment of a new city governor, Pa Socheatvong, and city police chief, Chuon Sovann.
Pa Socheatvong was not present at the demonstration. Chuon Sovann, who was, declined to comment when approached by VOA Khmer.
Protesters said they will continue their demonstrations until their grievances are resolved.