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Khmer Ethnic Group Plans Embassy Protest

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights Organization said Monday it plans to lead a rally in front of the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh to protest the persecution of its ethnic community living in Vietnam.

The demonstration will coincide with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet's three-day visit to Cambodia, the organization said in a statement.

Ang Chanrith, the organization's executive director, said Khmer Krom people are being denied their personal and religious freedoms in Vietnam. His comment came after a recent case in which three Buddhist monks were chastised there.

"The demonstration will ask the Vietnamese government to respect our human rights," Ang Chanrith said.

An official from the Vietnamese embassy declined to comment on the rally, saying he was busy.

Kep Chutema, mayor of Phnom Penh, asked VOA Khmer to direct questions to the Ministry of Interior but confirmed that he received notice of the demonstration.

The Ministry of Interior's spokesman, Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, said he had not received a protest request but said the decision was for local authorities to make.

More than 1.5 million Khmer Krom live near the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.