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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ley committee holds fast to Wat Chas plan

The finished statue of slain political activist Kem Ley sits in a Kampong Speu workshop earlier this year. SBN
The finished statue of slain political activist Kem Ley sits in a Kampong Speu workshop earlier this year. SBN

Ley committee holds fast to Wat Chas plan

A ceremony to mark 100 days since the slaying of political analyst Kem Ley will proceed at Chroy Changvar district’s Wat Chas, even though both officials and the pagoda’s abbot have banned it, an organiser said yesterday, with a march planned for Sunday.

But Buntenh, a dissident monk who was a close friend of Ley, said organisers would ignore the ban and take a statue of Ley to the pagoda on Thursday, where it will remain for mourners to pay their respects until the weekend’s planned march.

In a repeat of the funeral three months ago, the statue will then be marched to Ley’s home village in Takeo province. Buntenh said he expected 100,000 people would join in the procession of about 70 kilometres, which last time took about a day.

However, the statue’s lead sculptor, Sien Kamangdang, said he hoped the statue would be taken away from his workshop sooner than Thursday, explaining that a number of people he did not know had come to inspect the statue, a fact that made him worried.

“You know, even the funeral was not allowed, so what about the statue in my workshop? I am contacting to the committee to take this statue before October 13. I want them take this statue out,” he said. “We worked on it without aiming to get anything back, but actually we have become scared.”

Buntenh said the request would be considered.

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