PHNOM PENH (Bernama) – Around 100 monks marched in capital Phnom Penh on Friday amid rumours the government has leased a parcel of land belonging to the iconic Buddhist Institute, Xinhua news agency reported.
The monks rallied on a street in front of the Royal Palace and called on the Ministry of Cults and Religion to halt the land lease to NagaWorld hotel and casino and stop demolishment of the institute’s complex.
“Leasing of the land to NagaWorld casino will not give any benefit to the religion, instead it affects the value of Buddhism and the country’s reputation,” said protest leader Venerable But Buntenh, head of Independent Monk Network for Social Justice.
Hundreds of anti-riot police armed with batons and shields were deployed outside the Royal Palace.
No reports of clashes were reported between the police and monks.
The Cults and Religion Ministry last month denied it had leased or sold any part of the Buddhist Institute’s land to NagaWorld or other companies.