Khmer Krom and Prey Nokor territory
Monday, December 17, 2007
Khmer Krom people protest about land disputes in Prey Nokor (HCMC)
15 December 2007
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Socheata
A source from Kampuchea Krom (South Vietnam) indicated that numerous Khmer Krom people are facing the stopping and the arrest by the Vietnamese authority, as they were gathering to demand their lands back in front of the office of Vietnamese MPs in Prey Nokor (Ho Chi Minh City).
Last night’s land protest demonstration by Khmer Krom people is considered as a renewal of demonstration activities in this month of December, in spite of the fact that numerous Khmer Krom monks were sent to jail by the Vietnamese authority.“…right now, the police are pushing people in my group into a truck. These people are resisting and they are refusing to climb into the truck. They all want to die together in Prey Nokor…” this call for help by Khmer Krom people took place last night, when a group of about 150 Khmer Krom demonstrators were prevented by the Vietnamese police (from holding their demonstration) in front of the MPs office in Prey Nokor.
There is no report indicating how many Khmer Krom people were arrested or faced oppression because of their demands to get their farmlands back.
The protesters claimed that the Vietnamese authority refused to return several hectares of their farmlands after displacing these Khmer Krom people out of their villages and their lands in 1979.
The displacements of Khmer Krom people took place during the war between former Khmer Rouge soldiers and Vietnamese soldiers in Motr Chrouk province, Kampuchea Krom, and at that time, the Vietnamese army forced the population to move out. However, several years after the Khmer Krom people returned to their lands, the Vietnamese still refuse to return their lands back.
Chau In, the leader of last night demonstrators, yelled out his demand: “Right now, our Khmer Krom brothers and sisters have no freedom rights at all, look at it, they (the Vietnamese) do anything they want on us, they oppress us anyway they like. Therefore, I am calling to international organizations in the world to help resolve the problem for Khmer Krom people who are losing their lands, we demand that our lands be returned back to us, the rightful owners.”
Phy Ny, a Khmer Krom woman, yelled out: “Please help us, the Vietnamese police is squeezing us, they oppress us very strongly, they have electric baton, knives, guns, they threaten us and force us to enter the truck (for arrest). We refuse to go, my group would rather die, we’d rather die than leave if the communist cadres do not resolve our farmlands issue for us. If I leave, I won’t have anything to eat, everyday, I have to work as a laborer for others, and a large plot of my rice field land was lost…”The Vietnamese authority could not be reached last night.