A group of about 1,000 ultra-nationalist Thai activists were prevented by Thai soldiers on Saturday from uprooting temporary boarder markers near the Ta Moan temple complex in Oddar Meanchey province, officials said yesterday.
Lieutenant General Chhum Sucheat, spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said that commanders from the Thai and Cambodian armies had met on Saturday morning and had agreed to block the entry of pro-government Thai nationalists, also known as yellow shirts, from approaching Cambodia’s border posts.
“Thai soldiers prevented the demonstration of the yellow shirts,” Lt Gen Sucheat said, adding that any entry of the Thai nationalists into Cambodia’s territory would be considered “illegal.”
The Cambodian army last week sent reinforcements to the border area after media reports citing the Thai newspaper Matichon Daily on April 16 said that Thai activist Veera Somkwamkid was planning to uproot a temporary Cambodian demarcation post that Thailand say falls inside its own territory.
A Thai government spokesman was unavailable yesterday. However, Lt Gen Sucheat added that Cambodian and Thai military officials had cooperated well over the issue. But if the Thai activists do somehow make it over the border, “we have the right to protect our country,” he said.
“We have enough forces to protect the area,” he said.
RCAF Colonel Nak Vong, chief of staff of Military Region 4, confirmed yesterday that no Thai yellow shirts had reached the border on Saturday and referred all other questions to the Defense Ministry.
Oddar Meanchey provincial Cabinet chief Chhim Savuth said he had received information from border officials estimating that about 1,000 yellow shirts led by Mr Veera had been escorted to about 10 km from the Thai-Cambodia border on Saturday afternoon.
“Thai soldiers stopped them on the Thai side and gathered them together far from the border,” Mr Savuth said, adding that by late yesterday afternoon they had not attempted any return to the border area.
“RCAF has plans to stop them if they arrive at the border area,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Phorn Bopha)