NGOs, Activists Decry Blocking of Tree-Blessing Ceremony at Cambodia’s Prey Lang Forest

A group of more than 100 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and activist communities in Cambodia expressed dismay Tuesday over the government blocking an annual tree-blessing ceremony at Prey Lang forest in the country’s central plains.

Over the weekend, masked, armed rangers deployed by the Ministry of Environment blocked hundreds of community members, monks, and environmental activists from entering parts of Prey Lang protected area to join a ceremony organized by the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) to promote conservation efforts against deforestation.

In a statement on Tuesday, the PLCN said it was “outraged and appalled” at the restrictions on the ceremony, which it has held for several years, and which it notified authorities about in advance.

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