Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thai 'Yellow Shirts' allowed near Cambodia temple [-Veera Somkwamkid needs a reality check!]

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BANGKOK — Thai authorities allowed "Yellow Shirt" protesters to gather near a disputed temple on the Cambodian border Sunday, a day after clashes with police and villagers left dozens injured.

Around 30 members of the movement which blockaded Bangkok's airports last year were granted access to the entrance of ancient Preah Vihear temple and read a statement urging the government to ensure Thai sovereignty in the area.

"The government and army should do everything under the law to regain the area around the temple for Thailand," protest leader Veera Somkwamkid said, reading from the statement in footage shown on local television.

Veera also attacked Cambodia for allowing its residents and soldiers to stay on the disputed five square kilometres (two square miles) around the 11th-century temple.

Around 5,000 Yellow Shirts fought with Thai residents and police on Saturday after trying to reach the temple.

The ruins were granted to Cambodia by the World Court in 1962 but tensions resumed when they gained UN world heritage status last year. At least seven people have died in skirmishes between Thai and Cambodian forces since then.

Saturday's violence took place as 26,000 rival "Red Shirts" rallied peacefully in Bangkok on the third anniversary of the coup that toppled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The royalist Yellow Shirts led street campaigns that helped oust Thaksin in 2006 and also pushed out a government of his allies in December last year, but have now grown angry with the current government.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who came to power on the back of the airport blockade, apologised for the temple incident.

"I am sorry that there was a clash and injuries to people," Abhisit said in his weekly television programme.

"The government is not ignoring this problem, we are working on it. What we are doing is not causing the country to lose territory or sovereignty."

Cambodian foreign affairs ministry spokesman Kuoy Kong said police from his country had been deployed at the temple.

"But we're not worried at all because the Thai government said they would handle it and prevent the protesters from entering the temple," Kuoy Kong said.

What next?

You can also bookmark this post using your favorite bookmarking service:

Related Posts by Categories

Who Online?


Search This Blog