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Fire trucks join ‘security’ detail

Fire trucks line the perimeter of Phnom Penh’s Wat Botum park
Fire trucks line the perimeter of Phnom Penh’s Wat Botum park. VIREAK MAI

Fire trucks join ‘security’ detail

Municipal police have deployed fire trucks from Chamkarmon, Dankgor and Russey Keo districts to outside Daun Penh’s Wat Botum amid fears of protests, officials said.

“I only followed the orders of higher-level officials. I think it’s also for preventing all gangsters or extremists from doing anything harmful to this important area,” municipal fire police chief Neth Vantha said.

“There is no problem [now]. We just put the trucks to prevent any incident from happening near here.”

Last week, opposition leader Sam Rainsy vowed mass demonstrations if election results failed to recognise a CNRP win. In response the government warned that the leaders would be held liable for any damage that occurred during the protest, while troops were moved from outer provinces toward the capital.

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said yesterday there appeared to be “no sign of a demonstration” at the moment, but that the fire trucks were part of a deployment “to keep security to ensure a stable situation”.

“There is no time frame to take them out yet,” he added.

On Friday, Rainsy offered some of his strongest words yet, urging on his official Facebook page that troops who had been posted to prevent a protest switch loyalties.

“All nephews, please help to urge all armed forces … to join forces with the people, including the youth, who love our nation to demand a change of leadership this year,” he wrote.

The words drew tough government responses, with officials warning that such statements could constitute criminal incitement.

Without explanation, the comments were scrubbed from Rainsy’s Facebook page.

Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann said he could not comment on materials posted on Rainsy’s Facebook page and referred questions to Rainsy, who was en route to Phnom Penh from Paris.

He is expected to arrive at 9am this morning.

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