An additional 100 protesters gathered yesterday in Kampong Thom province’s Sandan district, joining roughly 200 villagers that have demonstrated since Sunday against a rubber company they fear will clear their forested land.
The villagers are continuing to protest outside the offices of CRCK Rubber Development Company – which was granted a 6,044-hectare concession last year – despite efforts by district and military police to stop them.
The villagers came from communities in Kampong Thom, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear provinces that border Prey Lang forest, one of Cambodia’s largest at about 200,000 hectares. They fear the company will destroy forested land they depend on for their livelihoods.
Long Sokun, Kampong Thom deputy police chief, declined to comment in detail on the protest, but said “I don’t know why they deployed a lot of police around that place”.
Last July, more than 100 villagers gathered in Phnom Penh to deliver petitions to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet and the Ministry of Agriculture requesting action to protect Prey Lang.