The nation’s three highest-ranking clergymen and the minister of cults and religion on Friday reiterated a ban on monks participating in demonstrations, even as monks led marches from six different provinces into Phnom Penh ahead of international Human Rights Day on December 10.
The joint statement restating the ban was issued by the national leaders of the Mohanikaya and Dhammayuttika sects of Buddhism – Great Supreme Patriarchs Tep Vong and Bou Kry, respectively – and Cambodia’s chief of monks, Supreme Patriarch Non Nget, and Minister of Cults and Religion Min Khin.
In it, they reminded the monkhood of the ban’s first announcement, issued in September 2013. They called for monks to stop joining marches and protests and for authorities to prevent the monks’ activities to maintain “Buddhist dignity”.
Venerable In Puthy, who is currently participating in one of the marches into Phnom Penh along National Road 1, denied that participation in demonstrations was damaging to the monkhood, adding that “currently monks are helping with a lot of community work”.
City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday that additional security would be put in place for Human Rights Day, and that authorities would take action against monks and laypeople if violence occurs.