About 400 villagers from four provinces surrounding Prey Lang forest were prepared to complete their trek to Damnak Mean, about 50 kilometres from Sandan district, even though authorities had banned them from entering the forest to patrol for illegal loggers, an NGO officer told the Post yesterday.
Chut Wutty, director of the Natural Resource Protection Group, said the villagers were determined to proceed, even though they were confronted by about 30 police officers yesterday.
“They plan to patrol the forest for illegal logging and also to protest against [rubber company] CRCK,” he said.
Chut Wutty said villagers had begun walking from their respective provinces on November 2 and planned to meet one another at Damnak Mean, in the middle of Prey Lang.
Prey Lang is the last large forested area in Cambodia. It covers an area of about 3,600 square kilometres stretching across parts of Kratie, Stoeung Treng, Kam-pong Thom and Preah Vihear provinces.
Kampong Thom deputy provincial police chief Long Sokun said he was unaware of the protest.
On August 18, a group of villagers were arrested when they came to pray in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and deliver a petition about the dangers facing Prey Lang forest.