Crackdown at pagoda

Phnom Penh Post

Thursday, 01 September 2011 15:01, May Titthara and Vincent MacIsaac
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Photo by: Heng Chivoan

Loun Sovath blesses Prey Lang villagers last month. Listen his interviewing with the Khmer Post Radio

Ten university students and five monks at Phnom Penh’s Ounalom pagoda, the former residence of campaigning monk Venerable Loun Sovath, had been threatened with eviction if they had any contact with him, monks said yesterday.

The ultimatum was reportedly delivered by Supreme Patriarch Non Nget to senior monks on Sunday, during the monthly prayer session that coincides with the full moon, the group of monks said on condition they were not identified individually.

Earlier that day, Loun Sovath had visited the pagoda to greet other monks and students who had shared his accommodation, they said.

Those living in part of the complex in which he lived  include monks from Siem Reap, Svay Rieng, Takeo, Battambang and Kampuchea Krom, including some of the Kingdom’s most educated monks.

Monks at the pagoda said the Supreme Patriarch was under political pressure to rein in Loun Sovath, but that both he and they support Loun Sovath’s efforts to pursue peaceful advocacy on behalf of communities facing the loss of land to well-connected companies and individuals.
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