On August 18, at 146 sites around country, Cambodian communities gathered to pray for Prey Lang, as well as other land, forests, and waters around the country, at risk due to unbridled “development.” In Phnom Penh, more than 200 Prey Lang Network representatives and other activists from around the country, gathered to pray at Preah Ang Dangkor, a renowned shrine in front of the Royal Palace. The group included fishers, farmers, forest communities, moto-taxi and tuk tuk drivers, and urban community activists representing a range of faiths – Buddhist, animist, and Muslim. Dressed as “Avatars,” the activists’ prayers called attention to how fast the country’s most precious resources being bankrupted. They called on others to pray with them for the wisdom of their leaders, more rational development, the conservation of natural resources, and inclusion and respect for the poor who most depend on those resources.
After praying, they dispersed to street corners around the city to distribute leaflets about Prey Lang to the public. Although commercial promoters are allowed to freely distribute their flyers along the streets, the activists were quickly stopped by police and local authorities. The leaflets were confiscated and more than 100 were detained for an hour or more. Some were required to thumbprint agreements to halt their advocacy before they were released.
Events in the other 145 locations appeared to have gone ahead mostly without incident. The remoteness of communities and the high cost of communication made it difficult to track events during the day. As reports of those events start coming in, the news will be posted here and on the Prey Lang Facebook page.
You too can be a Prey Lang “Avatar.” Please join us, the Prey Lang Network and other Cambodian “Avatars” to Pray Long for Prey Lang and for all the peoples, forest, land and natural resources of Cambodia.
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