Four activist monks say they were arrested after an opposition rally in Oddar Meanchey province on Friday, with one claiming that police confiscated their smartphones and deleted videos taken at the event.
After leaving a Samraong City rally featuring CNRP leader Kem Sokha on Friday morning, Luon Sovath, a prominent activist monk who regularly livestreams events on his Facebook page, said police began harassing opposition supporters.
Venerable Prim Huon is being arrested on Friday in Samraong City, photo posted to his Facebook account.“After people were going back to their homes…about 1km away, the police prohibited the people and asked them where they want to go and where they had come from,” the monk said.
Then a police chief gave orders to arrest the monks and confiscate their phones, he claimed.
“Then they arrested and take out the smartphone from Venerable Prim Huon,” he said, in reference to another well-known activist monk. “They take my smartphone and accessories of smartphone and two smartphones from other monks.”
Police initially sought to take the monks to a police station, but eventually agreed to take the detained monks to a nearby pagoda for questioning, Luon Sovath said.
“They checked all cameras, all the smartphones and they deleted all video and photos,” he said, adding that they were also forced to delete Facebook posts from the rally.

When asked why they were being detained and forced to delete their photos, Luon Sovath said police told them that Prim Huon’s commentary during a live Facebook stream had been “spreading lies” regarding intimidation of opposition supporters at the rally.
“They accused Venerable Prim Huon, when he was live on Facebook, they said he explained or he described the problem that happened this morning about the police prohibiting people. They accused Venerable Prim Huon of not speaking truthfully and telling lies,” he said.
“They want to threaten the people and threaten the monks, and also they do not respect the human rights, political rights or freedom of ideas.”
City and provincial police could not be reached for comment on the incident.
After around three hours, the monks agreed to delete the videos and thumbprint a document agreeing to not post similar material, and were allowed to leave with their phones and equipment, Luon Sovath said, adding that the police threatened to file a complaint with the courts if they re-posted videos from the rally.
Despite the warning, within a couple of hours Prim Huon posted a video to his Facebook of him being detained, which Luon Sovath swiftly shared.
Prior to the monk arrests, Kem Monovithya, Mr. Sokha’s daughter and the CNRP’s deputy public affairs director, said efforts had been made by officials and CPP supporters to disrupt the opposition rally.
“CPP blasted music on loud speakers close to where we held our meeting. We filed complaint, eventually they stopped after our meeting was also over,” she said in an email.
“Heavy armed forces present, blocking some CNRP cars from rallying. Authority at the same time allowed CPP to rally on routes that CNRP can’t, our rally was very confined.”*
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