More than 60 mobile vendors plying their trade along Sihanoukville’s O’tres beach yesterday staged a protest against a Provincial Hall order for them to move elsewhere.
The provincial administration on December 4 issued a notice, signed by Governor Kuoch Chamroeun, ordering the 64 vendors to stop using the stretch of beach in order to protect its environment and ensure public order.
Say Samontha, a vendor, said that they staged the protest in front of Provincial Hall to ask authorities to rescind the order.
She noted that the vendors had previously protested against the order, but their grievances were ignored.
Ms Samontha said the vendors had been plying their trade along the stretch for several years, long before O’tres beach was turned into a tourist site.
“We are not against plans to keep the beach beautiful and are only suggesting that Provincial Hall provide us with stalls at a fixed place to continue plying our trade on the stretch of beach,” she noted.
A Provincial Hall statement said that the actions of vendors plying their trade along the stretch known as Rising Southwest Star is affecting public order and affecting the environment and hygiene.
It claimed that the vendors also dump their sewage into the sea.
“In order to preserve the beach’s beauty, hygiene and environment, Provincial Hall suggested that the vendors should move out,” it noted.
However, another vendor Se Reiroth yesterday said that the vendors did not pollute the beach as the authorities claim.
She said that the vendors did not drain sewage into the sea.
“We set up a toilet in the area and the sewage flows into an underground container,” Ms Reiroth noted. “We hire workers to pump the sewage and none of it flows into the sea.”
Another vendor Long Chanthorn said that the group appealed to the Provincial Hall to allow them to carry on trading along the beach.
“Our business along this beach is very important to support our livelihood and is just like a rice pot for us,” he said.
“We used to sell along O’tres beach long before it became popular and now many tourist are visiting it,” Mr Chanthorn noted. “We want to sell food and other wares to tourists at the same spot and do not want to move out.”