Truckloads of police sent to stop Mother Nature petition

Mother Nature activists protest earlier in Koh Kong province before their arrest in August 2015. Photo supplied
Mother Nature activists protest earlier in Koh Kong province before their arrest in August 2015. Photo supplied

Some 50 police were dispatched yesterday to stop six relatives of jailed Mother Nature activists from marching to the prime minister’s house with a petition.

Activists Try Sovikea, Sun Mala and Sem Samnang were arrested in August last year in relation to their protests against sand dredging in Koh Kong province.

Samnang’s wife, Tha Sophea, her 3-year-old son Mengly, the mothers of Sovikea and Mala, and two Mother Nature members started walking with their petition for the activists’ release from Wat Phnom at 9am.

“I miss my father,” Mengly said.

About 9:30am, they were stopped by Daun Penh district police on Norodom Boulevard and soon three truckloads of military and district police arrived.

The authorities cited traffic and public order concerns and ordered the six to deliver the petition to the prime minister’s Cabinet near Wat Botum, which they plan to do next week.

“We were just walking on the sidewalk,” Sophea said.

Despite Hun Sen overruling the Supreme Court last week, Cabinet official Kong Chamroeun told the women that the executive branch could not interfere with the judiciary.