Cambodia steps up security ahead of ruling on opposition party
THE director of Cambodia’s central department of public order has ordered national police forces to toughen up security from Wednesday to Friday as the Supreme Court prepares to debate the dissolution of the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party on Thursday.
In a letter sent last Wednesday and obtained by Khmer Times on Sunday, department director Sek Phoumy said police must be on standby 24 hours a day over the three-day period.
“All the forces must prepare to maintain the necessary order,” the letter said. “Officers must wear combat uniforms and make daily and incident reports to the department.”
The Interior Ministry last month filed a request to the Supreme Court to have the CNRP dissolved following complaints lodged against it by Funcinpec and the Cambodian Youth Party.
According to Phnom Penh deputy municipal police chief Sim Vuthy, the CNRP plans to mobilise up to 200 activists to gather in the capital on Thursday when the Supreme Court announces its verdict on the dissolution.
But CNRP senior official Mao Monyvann said party leaders had not instructed their supporters to travel to Phnom Penh, and had in fact told members to remain calm and continue carrying out their responsibilities at a local level.
“We have instructed all activists to be calm and have not told anyone to come to the city,” he said.
Mr Monyvann added that it is the government’s duty to maintain public order, saying the tightened security was no cause for concern since the CNRP would not be taking action against the Supreme Court’s decision.
Ven Dara, CNRP chief executive for Pailin province, said senior party officials had not instructed members to take action on Thursday.
She said the provincial party working group had also held a meeting to remind party supporters to stay composed regardless of the court’s decision on the CNRP.
“We have to remain calm. We also do not want to do anything contrary to the principles of the party or our superiors, because it would be dangerous given the current political situation,” she said. Koh Kong Provincial Hall on Saturday warned CNRP supporters not to take action when the Supreme Court delivers its decision on the future of the party.
“If activists in Koh Kong province try to block the Supreme Court, the provincial administration will take legal action against those people,” a letter on the issue said.
Justice Ministry spokesman Kim Santepheap said protests would not be tolerated.
“Gathering in order to pressure the institution of the court is illegal,” he said. “The authorities have to follow the law by preventing and cracking down on such offences.”
Cambodia’s national police will be out in force from Wednesday to Friday.