Cambodian Villagers Unite to Take Back Prey Lang Forest
February 28, 2012 In mid-November 2011, approximately 300 villagers from four provinces surrounding Prey Lang forest marched through the endangered woods for more than a week. They were patrolling the forest to protect it from further illegal logging and deforestation, and to protest the escalating threat posed by economic land concessions and other exploitation.
Their march ended at the CRCK Development Rubber Companyâ€™s facilities, within a larger than 6,000 hectare rubber concession in the forest. The villagers sought to speak to company executives about illegal logging. They were refused entrance by police, military police, and soldiers who were guarding the companyâ€™s grounds. Villagers eventually proceeded past the guards and spoke with company representatives, who refused to stop clear-cutting the forest.
Time is running out; the government has issued several proposals to create a protected area in Prey Lang but has yet to declare official boundaries. Meanwhile, villagers continue to face unfounded charges and intimidation as a result of their activism. Their struggle continues.