Police on Alert for Strike Despite Union Pledge

Although the Free Trade Union and Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association have called off their Monday general strike, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong on Friday ordered police to be on close guard for possible protests in the coming days.

Police should monitor bus depots and shops where trucks and loudspeakers can be rented, and watch areas near the National Assembly and Wat Phnom for any possible demonstrations, he told district governors and police and military police chiefs, as well as 300 members of the pro-government Cambodian Union Federation at City Hall.

“They can say they would not do it on July 3, but they might still do it on July 8 or July 9,” Pa Socheatvong said. “We must prepare the plan now, we can’t allow chaos in the factories.” He did not say what police should do if they witness a protest.

He added that after the meeting he would give $728 in total to the 300 union members, in what he said was encouragement to disseminate a warning not to strike. He also said he would give the same amount to each of the chiefs of police for Russei Keo, Mean­cheay and Dangkao districts, as encouragement in looking out for protestors.

He also accused FTU President Chea Mony and CITA President Rong Chhun of serving an un­named political party.

“Look at the demand of Chea Mony and Rong Chhun to de­crease the gasoline price,” he said. “This is the issue of the politicians who now use it ahead of an election period.”

Chea Mony said his union’s demands for higher wages are not a threat to political stability and that the strike, which was suspended on Thursday after the Garment Manufacturers As­sociation agreed to discuss possible salary raises, would have occurred inside factories rather than in the streets.

“Cambodia has the peace of the gravesite. They intimidate people not to talk,” he said.

Thun Saray, president of local rights group Adhoc, said non-violent protests should be allowed.

“They should recognize people’s rights,” he said.

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