Protesting Villagers Claim Guards Turned Violent

Villagers from Koh Kong province claim they were pushed and kicked during a run-in with security guards on Tuesday as they attempted to walk to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house in protest about a land dispute.

Yi Kunthea, the villagers’ representative, said about 100 people caught up in the case, which involves a 782-hectare sugarcane plantation owned by Heng Huy and CPP senator Ly Yong Phat, had gathered in front of the Land Management Ministry in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district to hand over a letter.

Villagers from Koh Kong province confront Phnom Penh security guards during a land protest on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

After waiting hours, they headed to the premier’s house but were blocked by district security guards, Ms. Kunthea said.

“Their forces pushed us, carried and kicked,” she said.

“Some women were stepped on…scratched their knees and tore their clothes,” she added, saying a few were slapped and had minor cuts to their mouths.

Ms. Kunthea eventually met ministry spokesman Seng Lot.

But Prom Samkhan, district governor, denied there had been any altercation.

“They intended to block the street and our authority just advised them to get out. There was no scuffle,” he said.

Villagers didn’t have permission to walk to Mr. Hun Sen’s house and could cause a traffic jam, he added.

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