Home > Local News > ‘Patriots’ rally to demand Thais’ release

‘Patriots’ rally to demand Thais’ release

Protesters say accused were not trespassing 

Members of the Thai Patriots gather yesterday outside the Cambodian
embassy in Bangkok to demand the release of seven Thais being held in
Phnom Penh. The protest included burning a coffin with a picture of
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. KOSOL NAKACHOL

The Thai Patriots Network is hoping to mobilise
thousands of people to join a rally in Sa Kaeo tomorrow to increase the
pressure on Phnom Penh to release seven Thais being held for alleged
illegal entry into Cambodia.

Supporters in Bangkok will gather at Government House at noon today
before travelling to Sripen Road in Sa Kaeo. Network co-leader Chaiwat
Sinsuwong expects at least 5,000 people to join the protest.
The seven being held in Phnom Penh include Democrat Party MP for
Bangkok Panich Vikitsreth and a leading member of the People’s Alliance
for Democracy (PAD), Veera Somkwamkid.
Mr Panich is a serving member of the Joint Boundary Committee which is made up of representatives from Thailand and Cambodia.
The group was arrested last Wednesday while inspecting a disputed
border area near Ban Nong Jarn in Sa Kaeo’s Khok Sung district. The
Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged them on Thursday with encroaching on
Cambodian territory and entering a military area.
The Thai Patriots Network says the group was on Thai territory. It
backs its claim with land documents and receipts of tax payments.
An adviser to the network, former senator Karun Saingam, said Thai
landowners had been unable to secure title deeds as land officials could
not enter and measure the area because it was occupied by Cambodian
soldiers.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said relatives of the
detainees were likely to meet them at Prey Sor prison in Phnom Penh
today.
The relatives, who were already in Phnom Penh, were awaiting final
approval for the visit from the Cambodian authorities, he said.
Democrat Party deputy leader Kraisak Choonhavan, chairman of a party
panel on political development and public participation, said yesterday
the arrests could have a “ripple effect on politics”, especially on the
rally planned by the PAD for Jan22.
The PAD is heading protests against what it sees as territorial losses to Cambodia along the eastern border.
The deputy spokesman of the opposition Puea Thai Party, Jirayu
Huangsap, said yesterday the Democrat-led government was trying to mend
the relationship with Phnom Penh, but things had now been complicated by
one of its MPs teaming up with a member of the PAD to work on border
issues.

 Bangkok Post

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