Home > Local News > Villagers rally to call on PAD to stay away [Chamlong insists visit will go ahead ]

Villagers rally to call on PAD to stay away [Chamlong insists visit will go ahead ]

SI SA KET : Plans by the People’s Alliance for
Democracy to visit a village bordering Cambodia tomorrow are running
into stiff opposition from local people.
Villagers from Ban Phum Srol staged a rally yesterday to denounce the visit.
“You have created the war. You troubled us. We don’t welcome you,”
said Wichit Duangkaew, 46, yesterday of the PAD, attributing the latest
skirmish between Thai and Cambodian soldiers to the yellow shirts’
rally being held in Bangkok.
The PAD began its street demonstration on Jan 25 to pile pressure on
the Abhisit Vejjajiva government to submit to several demands including
the ejection of Cambodians from overlapping border areas that the group
claims belong to Thailand and the revocation of the memorandum of
understanding signed in 2000 with Cambodia on border demarcation
negotiations.
A clash between Thai and Cambodian soldiers erupted on Friday last
week near Phum Srol village in Si Sa Ket’s Kantharalak district. One
villager was killed and many buildings in the village were damaged.
The clash forced villagers to flee for their safety, leaving the village almost deserted.
“When Cambodian solders fired missiles and artillery pieces at us, were you [the PAD] with us?” Mr Wichit asked.
The PAD has announced it planned to visit Thai soldiers and
villagers in Kantharalak district to boost their morale and hand out
aid supplies.
Key PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang insisted yesterday his group would
not cancel its visit tomorrow. Members of a PAD-appointed committee on
territorial defence would take relief supplies to Kantharalak district
office about 5pm.
Chokchai Saikaew, head of Sao Thongchai tambon administration
organisation, believed the villagers would not oppose the visit if it
was aimed at helping victims. But they would lose patience if the PAD
set up a stage and talked about the border conflict.
The PAD-affiliated Thai Patriots Network decided early last month to
call off a rally near the border with Cambodia in Sa Kaeo province
after it ran into fierce opposition from villagers in Khok Sung
district.
The group planned to mobilise people, including PAD supporters in
the province, to join the rally aimed at putting pressure on Phnom Penh
to release seven Thais arrested in December on charges of illegally
entering Cambodia.
Villagers in Khok Sung, the district close to the area where the
Thais were arrested, staged a counter-rally to oppose the group’s move.
Like the Ban Phum Srol villagers, residents of Khok Sung did not want the network to worsen the border conflict.
The dispute involving the detained Thais caused them a great deal of
trouble. The border was closed and Cambodian labourers were unable to
report to work in Sa Kaeo.
Five of the seven detainees have been convicted of illegal entry and
released. The government is finding ways to help Thai Patriots Network
coordinator and PAD key figure Veera Somkhwamkid and his secretary,
Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, who remain in a Cambodian jail after they were
convicted of espionage.
Bangkok Post
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Categories: Local News
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