Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police, army ready for PAD temple protest

Police, army ready for PAD temple protest

Police, army ready for PAD temple protest

FIFTY riot police officers and dogs have been deployed at the border close to Preah Vihear temple to ensure that a planned demonstration by Thai protesters this weekend does not infringe on Cambodian territory, police officials have said.

The yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has announced it will hold a rally at Preah Vihear temple Saturday, after filing a petition accusing the Thai government of negligence in allowing Cambodia to “encroach” on the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area around the ruins.

“We hope that there will not be a problem if the Thai protesters rally on their own territory, and our riot police officers are just preparing in case any incident occurs,” Phnom Penh Municipal Police spokesman Kirt Chantha-rith said Wednesday. “We hope that the Thai authorities will do their job well and prevent the protesters from intruding on Cambodian territory.”

As preparations for the protest gathered pace, Ministry of Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat said that he had received a military report from the border alleging that Thais living near by were being offered 1,000 baht (US$29.69) to join the PAD rally.

The protest is an echo of similar demonstrations last year that triggered a yearlong military standoff at the border. Last July, three Thai demonstrators jumped over the border fence into Cambodian territory and were arrested by Cambodian border guards, triggering the Thai movement into disputed areas around the temple.

“There are some concerns that the Thai protests could lead to violence and reignite armed conflict between the Cambodian and Thai militaries,” said Koy Kuong, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Bun Vanna, deputy chief of staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Brigade 8, which is stationed at the temple, said that border troops are ready to counterattack if there is an intrusion.

However, in the wake of August 24’s joint declaration marking an official end to hostilities at Preah Vihear, Thai officials have also pledged to prevent PAD protestors from jeopardising the current detente.

On Thursday, the Bangkok Post quoted Lieutenant General Wibulsak Neepan of the Thai army as saying Thai troops would be deployed from the Thai side to prevent the protesters from entering the disputed area.

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National