Cambodian Environmental Activists End Bicycle Campaign Citing Threat of Arrest

A Cambodian environmental advocacy group on Thursday suspended a campaign calling on the government to protect an island habitat in Koh Kong province after its bicycle-mounted youth activists faced harassment and the threat of arrest from local authorities, according to the group’s members.

Authorities in Koh Kong first stopped the 21 Mother Nature activists on Wednesday in Trapaing Roung district after completing only 60 kilometers (37 miles) of their journey to the capital Phnom Penh from Koh Kong township, which had kicked off a day earlier, group leader Rey Reaksa told RFA’s Khmer Service.

Police initially claimed concerns over the potential spread of the coronavirus and took samples at a local health center using nasal swabs, but later said they did not have permission to continue with their campaign. The activists had planned to deliver a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to designate Koh Kong Krov Island a protected area to defend it against the impact of tourism and private interests.

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