No more protests planned, says chief abbot of Wat Samaki Raingsey
Riot police and Khmer Krom Buddhist monks clashed outside the Vietnamese Embassy on December 17. Both sides accused the other of inciting the melee. The monks had gathered in protest over the incarceration of fellow Khmer Krom Buddhist monk Tim Sakhorn, who has been jailed in Vietnam since June.
Eleven days after Phnom Penh police used electric batons to break up a demonstration
of about 40 Buddhist monks outside the Vietnamese Embassy, one monk involved in the
clash remained in serious condition at the pagoda and no further protests were planned.
Ly Vunny, 24, was one of six monks injured December 17 during a demonstration to
protest Vietnam's persecution of Buddhist monks.
The event was staged in the wake of the jailing of Khmer Krom monk Tim Sakhorn, 39,
who was defrocked by Cambodian Buddhist authorities and deported to Vietnam where
he was convicted of violating Vietnamese national unity.
The Khmer Krom monks called for the relase of Sakhorn and others who have been defrocked
and jailed in Vietnam.
"Monks cannot sit or walk. If they wants to move, two monks must carry him,"
said Young Sin, Chief of Khmer Krom Buddhist monks at Wat Samaki Raingsey.
Sin said there are no plans for further demonstrations. He said that although police
have been stationed outside the pagoda, no monks have been arrested or bothered since
Touch Naroth, Chief of Phnom Penh Municipal police, said the incident is closed and
denied that police provoked the violence. He said the monks started the problem by
throwing plastic water bottles and swinging their orange bags at police.
"Those monks were insulting the police. It is not the rule of the monk to allow
such activities. It is wrong," Naroth said. "The police just tried to ensure
security for the Vietnamese Embassy."
He said if there is another demonstration, the police will order the monks to calm
He said it was unfair to compare the violence to what is happening with the monks
Human Rights Watch (HRW) blasted the Cambodian government for responding to a peaceful
protest with brutality.
The New York based HRW issued a statement December 21 expressing concern for the
safety of Khmer Krom monks who protest in either Cambodia or Vietnam.
"Human Rights Watch is concerned that Cambodian authorities will now arrest,
defrock and forcibly send the monks who protested to Vietnam, where they could face
severe reprisals," said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at HRW.
Sun Kim Hun, secretary of state of the Ministry of Cults and Religions said that,
"We didn't see the demonstration. We only received information through the media."