The small community know as Group 78 located in the riverside area of Phnom Penh have live on their land since 1983. Over the years, Group 78 families were served with a number of eviction notices by local authorities while witnessing two violent forced eviction that took place in the same area, namely Dey Krahorm and Sambok Chap. The 3-years-long coercion campaign of Group 78 residents to leave their homes and land, culminating in this morning's final eviction of the area.
At 4 am this morning [July 17, 2009], dozens of armed police took up positions around Group 78 in order to enforce a municipal order that they dismantle their homes or be forcibly removed. This followed 53 families yesterday “agreeing” to the authorities’ demand that they accept an offer of $8,000 compensation or their homes would be forcibly destroyed. Negotiations this morning with the remaining 7 families who had not “agreed” led to a final offer to them of up to $20,000 in compensation which they all accepted, except for one family whose home was destroyed against their will.
As the sun rose on Friday July 17, 2009, dawn bore witness to the heart wrenching sight of the homes of the Group 78 community being dismantled piece by piece.