Activists Petition Assembly Over Dam Construction

A group of about 10 activists seeking to submit a petition against the Don Sahong dam in Laos were confronted by some 40 police officers and state security guards at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on Tuesday and threatened with arrest, according to one of their leaders.

After a brief scuffle with security forces, the activists were eventually allowed to hand lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang the petition, urging parliamentarians to research the effects of the 256-megawatt hydropower dam on downstream wildlife in the Mekong River, activist Chum Huot said.

A group of activists wait to deliver a petition outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
A group of activists wait to deliver a petition outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Preliminary construction of the dam had caused a “negative impact on natural resources, especially on dolphins,” Mr. Huot said.

Two out of the four dolphins previously living in Stung Treng province’s Thala Baravat district had disappeared since the construction and water levels had dropped significantly downstream, he said.

Four members of the delegation were eventually allowed inside the Assembly, he said, adding that Mr. Chhay Eang had promised to send the petition to fellow opposition lawmaker Pol Ham, head of the National Assembly’s commission on the environment and water resources.

sovuthy@cambodiadaily.com

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