Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police will not ‘be as strict’

Police will not ‘be as strict’

Municipal police stand guard during riot-control training exercises
Municipal police stand guard during riot-control training exercises on Monday ahead of a three-day opposition rally that begins today. Police have vowed to be more accommodating and less violent towards members of the CNRP than they were at last month’s rally. Heng Chivoan

Police will not ‘be as strict’

The roads surrounding In­dependence Monument will once again be blocked off as a planned three-day opposition rally kicks off this morning, but military police maintained yesterday that they will not be as tightly enforced as they were when frustration over delays erupted into violence last month.

National Military Police spokesman Kheng Tito said that while security forces will be deployed, Phnom Penh Municipal Military Police had been instructed to be more accommodating and not discriminate against the opposition.

“Thousands of military police were instructed by their commander to pay strong attention to maintain peace and stability for the rally of the CNRP and, in order to avoid any violence, individual military police were instructed not to talk with the protesters while on duty,” Tito said.

“Having learned about the roadblocks from the previous demonstration, this time we will not be as strict as before, and we will not create any problem that would anger people.”

Authorities use water cannons to disperse demonstrators attempting to move past roadblocks on Phnom Penh’s riverside last month.
Authorities use water cannons to disperse demonstrators attempting to move past roadblocks on Phnom Penh’s riverside last month. Pha Lina

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche was quick, however, to lay the onus for security on the opposition, saying that while the government’s position had seemingly softened with its decision to allow 1,000 demonstrators to deliver petitions to embassies, the CNRP would be expected to abide by other strictures, including a 10,000-person limit at Freedom Park and a 6pm curfew for the event.

“The CNRP must take responsibility to keep the protest under control in order to ensure peace, non-violence, and that it doesn’t affect national security and public order, life, and public and private property,” he said.

John Muller, of the private security firm Global Security Solutions, said “keep[ing] the public informed” is the best way to prevent frustrations from boiling over, as they did on September 15, when commuter Mao Sok Chan was shot dead by police during a traffic jam caused by barricades on the Monivong Bridge.

“You can find out where the roadblocks are going to be, where they plan to do vehicle checks, so if they release that information in advance [it would be good],” he said.

Nonetheless, Muller added, it was worth noting that injuries had remained low during last month’s mass protest – with the exception of the “embarrassing” attack on protesters at Wat Phnom by plainclothes men.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith yesterday declined to say how many officers would be deployed today, but said that if “there are more protesters, then there will be more police also”.

However, more protesters are not likely to be a problem, said Cambodian Center for Human Rights president Ou Virak, who noted that a combination of disenchantment over the opposition’s overtures towards compromise and simple fatigue would keep some demonstrators home.

“I think the number will be declining a bit compared to the previous three-day protest,” he said. “I think some people are fatigued. I think a lot of protest people are tired, because the protests didn’t lead to the results that they wanted.”


  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh