More than 60 former residents of the Boeung Kak lake neighborhood staged a protest in front of the World Bank office in Phnom Penh on Monday, claiming the bank was complicit in the loss of their homes and demanding help getting more compensation.
The protesters represent 169 households from the neighborhood, which was razed to make room for a commercial and residential development that never came to fruition. They called on the World Bank to leave the country. The residents each received about $8,000 in compensation for the loss of their homes.
Protesters say the World Bank failed to implement a land-titling project in 2006 that would have prevented the loss of their homes. They are calling on the World Bank to provide them additional compensation for the loss. Some threw eggs at the World Bank’s gates on Monday, smearing its name placard with yolk.
“The World Bank, they used loans to the government to force us out of Boeung Kak,” protesters Sea Sarath told VOA Khmer.
World Bank officials did not come out of the office to meet with protesters and declined comment afterward.
The former Boeung Kak residents say they have been unable to properly relocate since their ouster, because resettlement sites are far from schools, hospitals and decent forms of livelihood.
Tep Vanny, an outspoken Boeung Kak activist, said the current protesters are in a “risky” position, because they took some compensation to leave when the situation was “quite heated.”
Sea Phearum, director of the Housing Rights Task Force, a group that supports the residents, said the egg-throwing should not be misconstrued as an act of violence. “They made people struggle,” he said. “The people are struggling and holding protests to demand compensation.”