Cambodian evictions trigger villagers' brawl with police

Police in southern Cambodia say eight protesters were arrested and six policemen hurt when villagers angry about being evicted tried to block a main road.

The police chief of the coastal city of Sihanoukville said fighting broke out Friday when police tried to remove makeshift barriers of stone, broken concrete and tree limbs that about 100 villagers set across the road to the capital, Phnom Penh.

Gen. Chuon Narin said police tried Thursday to evict 600 villagers from nearby land he said was illegally occupied.

Villagers say they have been living there for two years and received no eviction notice before bulldozers arrived to demolish their homes.

Land disputes are a major issue in Cambodia, as developers have laid claim to valuable rural and urban tracts.