Villagers Block Road to Stop Threat of Evictions

A simmering land dispute in Kratie province’s Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary flared up Friday as hundreds of desperate villagers blocked National Road 76A for four hours in an effort to prevent the clearing of their homes and farms by a rubber company, villagers and human rights workers said. Mam Hai, a representative of the demonstrators, estimated that about 1,000 villagers from Pi Thnou and Khyoem communes gathered on the road Friday morning and set up barricades using construction wood from a nearby shelter that they had dismantled…Mr Hai said villagers wanted to stop Sovannvuthy Rubber Company, which has been bulldozing forest on the wildlife sanctuary’s western edge and is now moving east onto farmland used by villagers. Sovannvuthy Rubber Co has been granted a 7,251-hectare economic land concession in the area.