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Thai protestors banned from disputed area around Preah Vihear temple: army official

2009-09-17 16:28 BJT

BANGKOK, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's army will not allow protestors of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to rally inside the disputed 4.6-square-kilometer area around the ancient Preah Vihear temple.

Thai soldiers have put up barbed wire to prevent the PAD protestors from entering Phra Viharn National Park and set up more checkpoints along the road to the park, the website by Bangkok Post reported Thursday.

Phra Viharn National Park in Si Sa Ged province is the Thai gateway to Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple. Si Sa Ged province is located in the Northeast of Thailand, which borders Cambodia.

The PAD -- one of Thailand's active political groups -- has announced a plan to converge in Phra Viharn National Park in Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ged to demand Cambodian troops and villagers to be pushed out of the disputed border area.

"This (getting inside the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre area around the Preah Vihear temple) could affect relations with Cambodia," the website quoted Lt-Ben Wibulsak Neepan as saying Thursday.

Veera Somkwamkid, chairman of the Civil Rights and Liberty Group, which is affiliated to the PAD, has said PAD protestors from various provinces will gather in Kantharalak district prior to moving to the border area on Saturday.

About 200 police have been mobilized from Si Sa Get and nearby provinces to support soldiers in preventing the PAD people from entering the disputed area, said Pol Lt-Ben Krisda Pankhongchuen, head of Region 3 Provincial Police.

On Wednesday, the PAD group petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), accusing Thailand's past and present governments of negligence of duty in allowing Cambodia to encroach on the disputed border area near Preah Vihear temple.

The two neighboring countries share a nearly 800-kilometer long common border and they have never fully demarcated their land border.

Demarcating work cannot be carried out, as both sides have different interpretations of historical maps and worry about the landmines left there from years of civil war in Cambodia.

Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: Xinhua