Boeung Kak lake evictees yesterday joined about 50 activists who travelled to Koh Kong province to support local demonstrations calling for the release of three detained campaigners from NGO Mother Nature.
The group arrived as court documents were released that showed a bail request for the three activists – Sun Mala, Try Sovikea and Sim Somnang – had been denied.
Song Srey Leap, a veteran Boeung Kak activist who was arrested in January 2014 for her activism, said that they had travelled to Koh Kong to join locals in their ongoing protests because “we want to show that they are not alone”.
“They are sacrificing their life and time to protect the national interest of the country,” she said. “We saw that their situation was unfair and similar to our case.”
The Mother Nature activists were arrested on August 17 while campaigning against illegal sand-dredging operations.
Last week, demonstrators calling for their release clashed briefly with security forces in Khemarak Phumin town, where protesters continued to rally yesterday.
The authorities have blocked a bridge leading to the provincial capital, local resident Pha Sophea said, making it impossible for the activists to speak to Koh Kong Governor Bun Leut.
“Our difficulties were caused by the provincial governor,” Sophea said.
However, Leut said: “I have no authority to order their [the activists’] release.”