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

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • First case of coronavirus reported in the Kingdom

    Cambodia reported its first case of the deadly 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Monday, Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng announced. He said medical specialists detected the virus in a Chinese tourist in Sihanoukville. The minister said Jia Jianhua, 60, travelled from Wuhan city, where the outbreak

  • PM urges precaution amid virus outbreak

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday called on all Cambodians to bump up precautions to avoid contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has already killed more than 50 people in China. The prime minister told the public to remain calm but alert about the possibility of

  • Gov’t slams NGO over 2019 corruption report

    The government on Thursday slammed a report that described the Kingdom as highly corrupt. Government spokesperson Phay Siphan dismissed the latest Transparency International (TI) report as “just an advertisement of NGOs to promote their own interests”. Released on Thursday, the report puts Cambodia near the

  • NBC’s digital payments to go live in next few months

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) will launch a Blockchain-based, peer-to-peer payment and money transfer platform in the next few months, its director-general Chea Serey told The Post on Monday. Dubbed ‘Project Bakong’, the scheme already has the support of 11 banks, with many more expected

  • Gov’t answers garment buyers’ complaint

    Some of the biggest buyers in the Kingdom’s garment sector have urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to address issues faced by unions and workers – a request a senior official said was out of touch with the situation on the ground. The letter addressed to