Peace Walkers Dispersed By Daun Penh Security

Daun Penh district security guards broke up about 20 people who had gathered at Wat Phnom intending to march to the Royal Palace to celebrate Visak Bochea on Tuesday morning.

The group, made up mostly of students, NGO workers and civil servants, and calling themselves the Working Group for Peace, arrived around 7:30 a.m. and were met by the guards 10 minutes later.

Kim Vutha, the commander of the helmeted guards, ordered his men to disperse the crowd as they set off toward Sisowath Quay.

“Although it is Visak Bochea, you have to get permission from City Hall…when you rally more than 10 people,” Mr. Vutha said after the dispersal.

The group later gathered on the riverfront, but were once again dispersed by the guards. Hong Soveath, a representative of the working group, lamented the interference.

“Buddhism is the religion of Cambodia but they stop us from celebrating this,” he said. “The government and the authorities should encourage people to love peace and not use violence.”

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche could not be reached.

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