Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police break up Christian meeting

Police break up Christian meeting

Ethnic Jarai Christians gather for a monthly meeting at a residence in Ratanakkiri province earlier this  week before the meeting was shut down by authorities. Adhoc
Ethnic Jarai Christians gather for a monthly meeting at a residence in Ratanakkiri province earlier this week before the meeting was shut down by authorities. Adhoc

Police break up Christian meeting

Bakeo district police officers broke up a gathering of 50 Christians in Ratanakkiri province on Wednesday because they had not sought permission from authorities to meet.

The ethic Jarai Christians hold regular and rotating monthly meetings in O’Yadav, Andong Meas and Bakeo districts to pray, discuss their faith and eat, and said they never had to ask for permission before.

But two police officials intervened and disbanded their latest meeting in Touch village, according to attendees and rights group Adhoc.

“They said this month that the government banned the gathering,” said preacher Sal Plon, 42. “It is a deprivation of our religious rights. They are biased and discriminating against Christianity.”

He said the government usually supports Buddhism, with its adherents free to meet weekly without problems.

One member of the Christian group who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said he was disappointed and concerned.

“We do not gather about politics. We do not do anything that affects the government,” he said.

Bakeo district governor Heng Bunny said the police took correct measures to maintain security, especially as people from other districts were gathering.

“What if they lay the bomb and the bomb explodes and kills people? It was right for the police to ban it; do not blame them,” Bunny said.

Chhay Thy, Ratanakkiri provincial coordinator for Adhoc, suggested recent political tension – in the wake of Black Monday protests – was motivating the local authorities to broadly restrict the freedom to gather. Now, he said, authorities are increasingly requiring permission in advance.

MOST VIEWED

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • First commercial gold mine online

    Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd on June 21 began the commercial operation of its $120 million Okvau Gold Project in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri, becoming the Kingdom’s first gold producer. Located in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district, the

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Transport minister requests free trial of Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway

    The Ministry of Public Works and Transport held discussions with the company constructing the expressway from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk province to allow drivers to test the road free of charge before an official toll is set. While inspecting the progress of its construction