People’s Alliance for Democracy networks from 19 northeastern provinces are pushing ahead with their campaign to keep the disputed area around the Preah Vihear Temple as part of Thailand while PAD supporters in other provinces also carry out activities to support such a cause.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy affiliates in 19 northeastern provinces, led by Udon Thani PAD leader Jarern Mookajornpan, gathered at Phraya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Chang Wang monument to perform a worship ritual, believed to bring them good luck.
The movement involved driving down various main roads in Surin’s downtown and distributing information sheets that detailed facts about the Prear Viheah Temple dispute.
They marched through the Nakhon Ratchasima municipality in a drive to reclaim the country’s sovereignty over the 4.6-square kilometer area surrounding the ancient ruins of Preah Vihear Temple. The PAD supporters plan to leave Surin Province to continue their rally in Si Sa Ket tomorrow.
Members of the PAD network in Khon Kaen plan to travel to the Khao Phra Viharn National Park in Si Sa Ket’s Kantaralak District on September 18.
In the meantime, yellow-shirt supporters in Saraburi Province marched through main roads in the downtown with a procession of trucks, educating people about the controversial issue and also calling on the public to participate in their efforts. The group vowed to join force with the PAD affiliates across the country on September 18.
Meanwhile, the People’s Assembly of Thailand, led by Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Suppaphon Eiammethawee, listened to information about the matter from the Second Army Region.
Chaiwat said peaceful means should be used to resolve the conflict and urged the government to immediately take action in the issue, claiming that the disputed land around the temple still belongs to Thailand but is being occupied by Cambodians.
He also noted that members of the general public can show up and stake their claim for the land and said his group intends to file a petition with the government soon.
PAD: Govts ‘neglected Preah Vihear’
The People’s Alliance for Democracy on Wednesday petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), accusing past and present governments of negligence of duty in allowing Cambodia to encroach on a disputed border area near Preah Vihear temple.
The PAD, represented by Veera Somkwamkid, chairman of the People’s Rights and Liberty Protection Group, and about 30 members of the alliance, asked the NACC to investigate past governments, beginning with the Chavalit Yongchaiyudh in 1998 to the present administration of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The petition said they allowed Cambodian troops and people to encroach on an area of over 3,000 rai around the Preah Vihear temple.
The petition was supported by about 10 items of evidence allegedly showing that Thai territory had been intruded on since 1998, and that Thailand had lost sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The past and present governments had not only failed to push out the intruders but also allowed them to build houses and shops and clear forest to build roads inside the disputed area. The number of Cambodian soldiers and people in the area had considerably increased, particularly during the administrations of Gen Surayud Chulanont and Mr Abhisit, the petition alleged.
Commanders of the army and the 2nd Army Area as well as the past and present governments since 1998 had committed malfeasance, causing damage to the state and the people in violation of Article 157 of the Criminal Code, the petitioners claimed.
The PAD plans a rally on Saturday near the disputed area near the Preah Vihear temple, to demand the government push the alleged intruders out of the disputed area.
Kasit assigned to negotiate with PAD
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya has been assigned to negotiate with People’s Alliance for Democracy leaders about calling off their plan to rally near the Preah Vihear temple, for fear it could harm the relations with Cambodia, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday.
The PAD plans to rally near the temple on Saturday and demand that Cambodian people and troops be withdrawn from the 4.6-square-kilometre area still under dispute.
Mr Abhisit said the governement has tried to seek understanding with the local people who still held different opinions over the issue. Mr Kasit has been assigned to ask PAD leaders to call off the rally.
The government had no hidden agenda in its handling of the border dispute and was duty-bound to protect the country’s sovereignty.
He said the government would negotiate to bring about peaceful co-existence without violent clashes.
RALLY AT PREAH VIHEAR TEMPLE: Police to be mobilised near the temple
Hundreds of police will be mobilised near Preah Vihear Temple to prepare for the yellow shirted protesters who are scheduled to rally there on Saturday.
Pol Lt Gen Krissada Pankongchuen, provincial police commissioner said that the 200 police officers are from anti-riot and mob control units.
The police who are mobilised from Si Sa Ket and other nearby provinces will join army troops in the area near the temple.
The yellow shirts, of People’s Alliance for Democracy, declared recently to gather on September 19 in Si Sa Ket to demand the Khmers to move out of the disputed area around the Hindu shrine.
Krissada said that the joint forces will prevent the protesters to enter the disputed area.
He said it is believed that there would be a large number of the protesters. “I already instruct police not to carry weapons and must not use violence on people,” he said.
However he said he believed there would be no violence on that day.