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LDP accused of using Angkor Wat for political gain

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
League for Democracy Party office in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district. KT/Pann Rachana

The Apsara Authority has reiterated that all political parties are not to use Angkor Wat temple to garner support for their parties or utilise any of the complex for political gain.

The assertion came after the League for Democracy Party on Friday held a gathering for members and supporters which spilled into Angkor Wat, according to a press release by the authority.

The statement said the event held was unacceptable, as Angkor Wat stands alone as a representative symbol of supremacy, solidarity and national unity and does not lean towards any political preference.

Using the image of Angkor Wat for political gain, the statement said, defies the values and heritage of Khmer culture.

Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal said yesterday it was unacceptable for a mass gathering of LDP members – donning hats, shirts and waving flags with the party logo – to be visiting the complex.

On Friday, dozens of members and supporters of the LDP gathered to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the party’s establishment and the inauguration of a party office in Chrey village, Kandek commune, Bakong district, Siem Reap province.

However during and after the event, some attendees also gathered in the Angkor Wat temple complex and took photos together, it was reported.

Mr Kosal said: “Heritage is common property. All citizens can come and visit and take photos of Angkor Wat temple, but the Apsara Authority does not want to see Angkor Wat temple used to benefit one political party over another, or for political gain in any way,” he said.

He said such mass gatherings were also in violation of the government’s directives, as well as the Ministry of Health guidelines, in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“This large-scale gathering is a matter of concern because we are currently amid the virus pandemic. In addition, the authority announced in 2016 that any mass gatherings within the grounds would require permission from the authority, which was not sought by the LDP,” he said.

LDP president Khem Veasna could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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