Lake protest: Leader replaced by lakesiders

Khout Sophakchakrya, Phnom Penh Post, Aug. 2 2011

One of the leaders of the protest by Boeung Kak residents against attempts to evict them from their homes has been replaced, residents said at a press conference yesterday, as they sought to send a clear message that they were united in their fight for onsite relocation. Ly Mom was replaced because she had suggested they seek compensation based on the market value of their land plots, residents said.

The move raised concern among some residents and NGO staff that the community was losing its solidarity. Sie Phearom, president of the Housing Rights Task Force, said he was worried that the move signaled that factions might be forming in the community and that this would result in suffering for all.

Community representative Tep Vanny said she continue to pressure authorities to accept residents’ demand for the onsite housing, which has been rejected by the Phnom Penh municipality numerous times. “We have a common willingness and a single aim,” she said. Ly Mom said she was not upset by the opposition to her. All families living in the area face the loss of land, housing and jobs, she said.

They need to trust each other and avoid attempts by outsiders to create factions among them, she said.

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