The CPP government’s handling of the many demonstrations in Phnom Penh since last year’s disputed national election has centered on the deployment of baton-wielding district security guards and riot police to repress protests.
But the strategy has at times failed against a greater foe. Keo Remy, a government spokesman, noted earlier this month a group of prominent female protesters used their femininity—and at times nudity—to avoid violence at the hands of reticent male officers.
Mr. Remy recommended a new female anti-riot police force.
In light of that, Phnom Penh Governor Pa Socheatvong met with Indonesian Ambassador Pitono Purnomo on Thursday to discuss Indonesia’s experiences in quelling unrest by deploying female officers.
“My ambassador shared Indonesian experiences with regard to handling demonstrations that have been going on in Jakarta,” said Abelian Yodha, the Indonesian Embassy’s first secretary for consular affairs. “Our national police have been using, empowering female colleagues in Indonesia.”
“The female officers have been used for handling traffic, but recently we’ve trained these female officers to also handle protesters,” he said.
“The chosen ones are relatively good-looking and polite and smart as well, to come face to face with the protesters or demonstrators if they are doing their action,” he continued. “By using female police and their female nature, sometimes it works to calm down the situation as well as to reach the negotiation process with the demonstrators.”
Mr. Yodha said that the beauty of the officers had proved a boon for officials dealing with unrest.
“Now they have female police officers who are good-looking and use this as an effort to handle demonstration situations,” he said.
“They are trained to be persuasive and empathetic.”
City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche confirmed the meeting Thursday but said there are yet no plans to introduce female officers.
“It’s not the case in our country…. Our case is different,” he said, declining to elaborate. “The governor just listened to him.”