Cambodian Villagers Mimic Avatar Characters to Defend Forest

Posted August 18th, 2011 at 4:45 am (UTC-5)
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More than 100 Cambodian villagers dressed themselves as characters from the hit movie Avatar Thursday to protest what they say is the destruction of Southeast Asia's largest remaining lowland evergreen forest.

The villagers, wearing green and blue face paint, demonstrated in front of the royal palace in Phnom Penh and then spread across the city distributing leaflets. Police arrested dozens of them but released them without charges.

The villagers say about 200,000 people rely on the Prey Lang forest for their livelihoods. But they say it is under increasing threat from illegal logging and exploitation by rubber and mining companies. They compared themselves to the forest people in Avatar, who also fought to defend their forest from greedy corporations.

The Prey Lang forest spans about 3,600 square kilometers in northern Cambodia and is home to a number of rare plants and endangered animals.