Prime Minister Hun Sen, his wife and members of his cabinet joined thousands of monks and people in a mass prayer ceremony over the weekend at the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Monday (Dec 4).
The two-day traditional event on Dec 2-3 was intended to highlight the kingdom’s stability, independence and peace. It was announced by Hun Sen on November 22 – just six days after the dissolution of the opposition CNRP by the Supreme Court.
Speaking to the media on the sideline of the event, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona said that such celebrations are “nothing new”, although they have historically been presided over by the royalty dating back to the Chenla period and to the reign of Jayavarman II, the first self-proclaimed god-king of the Angkor empire.
She maintained that King Sihanouk Sihamoni used to conduct this ceremony.
Tourism Minister Thong Kong shrugged off any suggestions that the courtry was in political turmoil.
The opposition CNRP legislator Ou Chanrath however observed that an event for peace, while welcome, was meaningless so long as political repression persists.