The SRP claimed April 4 that Phnom Penh Municipal Police have been harassing party members for distributing leaflets ahead of a march planned for Sunday.
For two hours Thursday, Daun Penh district police detained Phan Siphon, 31, after he began distributing leaflets about the demonstration near Phsar Kandal in Chey Chumneah commune, SRP lawmaker Ho Vann said.
Ho Vann also said police had been closely monitoring the movements of Tep Chan Sokhalai, SRP chief of O’Russei III commune in Prampi Makara district, after she began handing out the leaflets. Some police took up positions in the stairwell of her apartment, he said.
“Now she is scared of being arrested,” he added. “Any detention without a court summons is illegal.”
O’Russei III commune police chief Kroy Socheata said Friday he had received orders for the surveillance and Phnom Penh Police Chief Touch Naruth said that police were acting to keep order and that the leaflet distribution constituted “incitement and it is illegal.”
Touch Naruth said Phan Siphon had signed an agreement promising not to distribute any more leaflets and had been released with a warning.
“We didn’t arrest him. We just educated him,” he said.
Municipal authorities have denied the SRP permission to hold Sunday’s rally, asking that a stationary gathering be held at a single location instead. The SRP says it plans to press ahead with a peaceful march through the city. An SRP leaflet obtained Friday called for the public to gather at Phsar Thmei Sunday at 8 am.
Touch Naruth reiterated that police would be on hand Sunday to prevent violence and preserve order.
“We will not use violence. We will ask them to leave,” he said. “If they don’t and use violence on us, we will use our right to defend ourselves.”