Armed police dismantle Penan logging blockade

April 11, 2007

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Malaysian police dismantle a previous Penan logging road blockade in 1993.Malaysian police in Sarawak have for a second time dismantled a blockade set up by members of the Penan tribe to protect their rainforest land from logging by Malaysian company Samling.

‘The police and the company workers were very rude and did not negotiate with us,’ a Penan spokesman said. ‘We couldn't do anything because we heard the police firing gunshots which made the situation really dangerous to us.’

The Penan had been blockading a logging road to prevent Samling from destroying one of the last remaining areas of pristine rainforest left in Sarawak. The Penan rely on this forest for their food and all their needs; without it they cannot survive as an independent and self-sufficient people.

Police dismantled the blockade on 4 April using chainsaws. The Malaysian authorities had announced in June 2006 that they would remove the blockade, near the community of Long Benali, and arrest four Penan leaders. However, after protests by Survival supporters and others around the world, they took no action. The blockade was first dismantled on 7 February this year, but the Penan rebuilt it in mid-March.

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