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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monks protest against LDP leader’s criticism

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A line of monks snakes out of Wat Chbar Ampov yesterday, where members of the clergy and youth activists gathered to sign a petition condemning League for Democracy Party leader Khem Veasna. Hong Menea

Monks protest against LDP leader’s criticism

A campaign to denounce League for Democracy Party leader Khem Veasna for his criticism of the monkhood continued yesterday, with about 200 monks and members of a youth political group congregating at Phnom Penh’s Wat Chbar Ampov to sign a petition against him.

Following comments made by Veasna on social media referring to monks as greedy ‘bag thieves’ constantly seeking donations, Chbar Ampov pagoda Chief Hor Sokhon began collecting thumbprints on a petition denouncing the LDP leader. In two months, Sokhon said, he will file a complaint to the Interior Ministry.

In a show of support for the initiative, a group led by Sran Sok Rom, the founder of the Nokor Reach Youth Group, assembled at the pagoda to show their approval. “Khem Veasna in the past spread the insulting words, curses and disdain towards Khmers, and he considers monks as his enemy,” said Sok Rom, referring to previous comments made by Veasna, who himself is Khmer, referring to Khmer people as ‘dogs’.

Veasna could not be reached for comment. LDP Secretary Chin Thol defended the comments, saying Veasna’s ‘accusations refer to the cunning people hiding in Buddhism and normally revolutionary [parties] receive such criticism’.

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