Friday, January 23, 2009

Dey Kraham houses completely demolished by the 7NG company

Workers from the 7NG demolished all the houses in Dey Kraham (Photo: Cambodge Soir Hebdo)
"Building" on the rooftop of which the cops were stationed before their raid (Photo: DR, Cambodge Soir Hebdo)

24 Jan 2009
By Adrien Le Gal
Cambodge Soir Hebdo
Translated from French by Luc Sâr
Click here to read the article in French

Hun Sen promised after the war that nobody will be deprived from housing right. Look what he is doing now” - Resident
A clash between the residents and the cops took place on Saturday 24 Jan at 6AM in Dey Kraham. Workers for the 7NG company demolished all the houses in the shantytown located in the heart of Phnom Penh.
The cops and the 7NG construction company have demolished all the houses located in Dey Kraham on Saturday 24 January, at 6AM, Cambodge Soir Hebdo witnessed on the spot.

At about 2AM, the cops blocked principal access roads to the Dey Kraham area, and they took position on the roof of the nearby “Building” (apartment buildings from the Sangkum Reastr Niyum era, see photo). About 20 NGO officials and reporters were present on the spot.

After several hours of tension, at 6AM sharp, the time beyond which the evictions would be illegal, the cops entered the area. They were greeted by rock throwing from the residents, and they pushed the barricade set up by the demonstrators using tear gas and flame throwing guns pointed at the residents.

The angry residents burnt tires that cover the area with a thick black smoke, meanwhile some of the residents were scrambling to gather their furniture and belongings from their home.

After pushing the residents away, bulldozers were brought in to crush the makeshift homes while the helpless residents watched, some of them broke down in tears.

Workers for the 7NG company, the company who received the land concession, demolished some of the homes with hammers and heavy deadweight. “The workers were promised $5 in advance, 2 liters of gasoline, breakfast, and another $5 after their job done,” an observer from “Human Rights Observers” NGO indicated. “The workers were recruited from the relocation area, some of them used to live here before.”

The demolition crew, wearing yellow, blue and red T-shirts, ducked some rock throwing from the residents who were quickly put down.

Some of the residents refused to leave their homes, and NGO officials had to talk them out of it before their homes were demolished.

“Hun Sen promised after the war that nobody will be deprived from housing right. Look what he is doing now,” a resident from the area who came to watch the action said.

“I will return to sleep here tonight,” an old resident promised while pointing to a pile of rubbles that used to be his house.

The demolition was almost complete by 8AM.

While some residents claimed that Chan Vichet, their representative, was arrested in the previous evening, other sources indicated that he had to flee along with other activists, for fear of being put in jail by the Phnom Penh authority.


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