"Dozens of Buddhist monks kicked, punched and hurled bottles at baton-wielding police in Cambodia's capital Monday at a demonstration to demand religious freedom for monks in neighboring Vietnam.
The clashes erupted as about 40 monks approached the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh to submit a petition against authorities' alleged mistreatment of Buddhist monks in the communist country.
The protesters accused Vietnamese authorities of arresting and defrocking several ethnic Cambodian monks over the past few months.
In the Phnom Penh protest, about 100 riot police used batons to beat back the monks, blocking them from marching near the embassy."
These Buddhist monks are Khmer Krom, that is to say ethnic Khmer who inhabited the Mekong Delta before the arrival of the Vietnamese. Since the incorporation of the Mekong Delta into Vietnam in 1954, the region has cristallized tensions between the Cambodian and the Vietnamese. Indeed, Khmer Krom are forced to assimilation by the Vietnamese governement who impose them Vietnamese names and Vietnamese language. They are also victims of some ostracism which is reinforced by their practicing a different religion than Vietnamese people (Khmer Krom are Theravada Buddhists, like Cambodian and Thai people, but unlike Vietnamese who are Mahayana Buddhists or Roman Catholics).
Buddhist monks, police clash during protest in Cambodia - Herald Tribune 12/17/2007
An article about Khmer Krom temples and religion
Forgotten Treasures of Khmer Culture in the Mekong Delta by Moeun Nhean