Thursday, September 19, 2013

Monks, barricades, police and flowers

At the barrier.

Mid-afternoon today word spread that the police had once again placed barricades in the roads surrounding the Royal Palace area and that police presence had increased significantly. Apparently a group of monks were in route to the Palace to pray and ask the King to delay the opening session of the National Assembly scheduled for next week. Their passage to the Palace blocked, a little more than 100 monks stopped at the barricades, sat in the street (Sisowath Quay near the Chaktomuk Theater) and began to meditate, pray and chant. Several police manned the barricades while others directed traffic away. Eventually a contingent of riot police arrived in full gear, initially lining up at barrier facing the monks. The monks responded by chanting and praying, then standing and speaking calmly to the police about their position, taking photos of themselves and the police with their various iDevices and finally offering lotus flowers, some of which were accepted, if only briefly. The police seemed a bit disarmed by the display, remaining relatively relaxed and eventually just sat to the sides, smoking cigarettes and monitoring the situation. The monks dispersed after 45 minutes or so, leaving a few protestors, some of whom had some harsh words for the police, but they too left in fairly short order. A few photos...

Monks sit in the center of Sisowath Quay Blvd. near Chaktomuk Theater, meditating and chanting.

Riot police arrive

This monk made an clearly heartfelt statement to the police.

Flowers offered, a few of which were accepted, if only briefly before being tossed aside.

Offering flowers.

OK, now what?

Camera shy.

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