Sen Sok residents demonstrate against drainage project plans

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Photo by: Sovan Philong
A spray-painted marking shows the area that must be cleared to make way for a drainage project in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, which residents say could affect the homes of 600 families.
The Phnom Penh Post
MORE than 100 residents of Sen Sok district’s Phnom Penh Thmei commune on Wednesday gathered outside the Phnom Penh residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen to protest plans for a drainage system that they said could affect the homes of some 600 families.

A representative of the protesters also handed a complaint signed by 129 residents to Nov Ra, an official in Hun Sen’s cabinet.

The protest was staged after local authorities brought bulldozers to the site, leading residents to suspect that work on the drainage system would begin soon. Yim Sokhom, 58, one of the protesters, said the project – which is set to widen the road by 35 metres – would lead to the partial destruction of some homes and the total destruction of others, and that no compensation had been offered.

“We are very worried because the authorities brought the bulldozers and spayed red spraypaint on our houses and said they would make the drainage system,” Yim Sokhom said.

Sok Gech, another protester, said residents had asked authorities to widen the road by only 15 metres, adding: “We need justice from the prime minister, because only he can help.”

Nov Ra could not be reached.

Khoung Sreng, Sen Sok district governor, said the drainage system would curb flooding resulting from heavy rains, and that the families had built their homes on public land, meaning they would not be entitled to compensation.

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