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Cambodian police clashed with protesters in the capital on Thursday. It's over a long-running dispute over housing evictions. Human rights groups say the government kicked people out of their homes so they could sell prime real estate to foreign and local businesses.
Cambodian protesters clashed with police on Thursday over a long running dispute for a luxury housing estate. Rights groups and foreign aid donors have complained that state officials are forcibly evicting farmers, villagers and city residents to sell prime land to foreign and local businesses.
Police armed with shields, sticks and electric batons broke up the group of about 100 protesters who had gathered in front of Phnom Penh City Hall.
[Chan Tha, Protester]:
"I am suffering. I am a Khmer like others. Why are they doing this to the people? They fight, they beat people with no mercy, they do not find solutions for the people."
The estate is to be built by a Chinese developer and a well-connected Cambodian tycoon.
[Am Sam Ath, Human Rights Activist]:
"I think that the authorities were too harsh on the protesters. I know that they want to restore the public order. But they should find another peaceful solution for everyone."
According to a Cambodian group monitoring forced evictions, 30,000 people were moved off their land last year. And an estimated 150,000 more evictions are expected in the next few years.
Officials have argued that the planned urban development will help the Cambodian capital.
Phnom Penh's Boeng Kak Lake is being bulldozed to make way for a luxury housing estate to be built by China's Inner Mongolia Erdos Hongjun Investment Corp. It has pledged to spend $3 billion in Cambodia on real estate, metal processing and power generation.