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Cambodians protest Xayaburi in Bangkok

Cambodians protest Xayaburi in Bangkok

Cambodians were among anti-Xayaburi dam protesters who demonstrated outside Thai Parliament in Bangkok yesterday, urging Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to halt construction and tear up an agreement to buy the proposed dam’s power.

A group of Cambodians travelled to Bangkok especially to raise their concerns about the proposed hydroelectric dam, joining protesters from seven provinces in Thailand’s northeast.

They were out of luck, however, as the Thai government – which would buy the majority of the dam’s power, if built – refused to hear their calls, which accompanied 8,000 signatures on giant catfish petition postcards.

“No one wants to meet us,” Meach Mean, co-ordinator of the Cambodian NGO 3S Rivers Protection Network, said yesterday. “Most of all, we want the Thai government to please stop the company Ch. Karnchang building Xayaburi and for Thailand to stop buying the electricity.”

Thai company Ch. Karnchang is contracted to build the 1,285-megawatt dam in northern Laos at a cost of $3.8 billion; however, Cambodia and Laos want a study on its likely effects to be carried out first.

A letter sent to Prime Minister Yingluck early this month by NGOs and groups in the northeast of the country said Thailand was in a position to stop Xayaburi.

“[You] must be well aware that Thailand has direct responsibility for the progress of the project development,” the letter states. “First of all, 95 per cent of the electricity output of the Xayaburi dam will be sold to Thailand.”

A statement released by NGO Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), said meeting with the Thai premier could be “an important turning point for [the] Xayaburi campaign for the Mekong regional civil society networks and, even more important, for the Thai people who live along the Mekong River.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Shane Worrell at [email protected]

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