Police on Wednesday dispersed some 50 protesters from in front of the prime minister’s Kandal province residence who had gathered to demonstrate over concerns they could lose their homes to a Phnom Penh development project.
One woman was injured after several dozen police and military police pushed the group out of the street, witnesses said.
The residents had gathered to represent more than 380 families who are worried they will not have new homes built under a 2003 development deal on 14 hectares of land. The original plan called for a development company to develop 4.6 hectares of land in the area, including 2 hectares of apartments for those already living there.
Hor Chinda, a 31-year-old demonstrator who said she was beaten on the legs and chest, said she was calling on Hun Sen to help residents receive housing.
Phaung Sopheap, a 37-year-old resident of Prampi Makara district’s Borei Keila community, said she too was beaten by police. “Some protesters had torn clothes and fell to the ground,” she said.
Phaung Sopheap said that she and other residents have not been given apartments as promised.
However, Him Chak, a representative of the Borei Keila development commission, which is overseeing the project, said eight houses have been built already, enough to provide apartments to people with legal documentation to their homes. Currently, he said, 1,044 families are living in six new buildings, with two more buildings under construction for 349 families.
Prampi Makara Governor Som Sovan said the state will only provide housing for those with legal documentation.
Cheng Sophors, monitor for the rights group Licadho, said the police had ignored the rights of the protesters and their freedom of expression.