1,000 Cambodian traders protest over border closure

About 1,000 Cambodian traders have picketed at the Thai-Cambodian checkpoint in Ban Khlong Luek in Aranyaprathet district to protest against the prolonged border closure.

Traders assembled on the Cambodia side of the border and voiced their demand for the checkpoint to be reopened so they could cross into Thailand to trade at the Rong Klua market for second-hand goods.

The protest in the early morning had intensified, prompting the Banteay Meanchey provincial office to step in and successfully persuade the protesters to disperse around 9am.

On hearing of the protest, some Thai traders thought the border businesses might resume and drove about 100 trucks with goods to the checkpoint hoping to be given the green light to enter Cambodia.

At the same time, Thai security authorities led by Aranyaprathet district chief Sawanit Suriyakul were present at the border to maintain order.

Col Chisanu Rodsiri, deputy chief of the Burapa task force, and 30 local administrative officials later met representatives of the Banteay Meanchey provincial office to discuss the problem.

About 1,500 Cambodian traders framed with “the Cambodian Association for Economy Development” last week told Banteay Meancheay authorities about their plan to conduct a peaceful rally from June 1-7 to try persuade the authorities to open the border, the Khmer Times reported on Tuesday.

A border source said the Cambodian authorities were informed by the protesters that they suffered economically from the extended emergency decree imposed by the government to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The extension lasting until the end of this month will add to the traders’ sufferings. The protesters demanded the border be re-opened at once.

Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Ngor Mengchruon said Cambodian authorities were able to control the protest on Monday but were not certain if the rally would be renewed in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, Col Chinsanu told the Cambodian authorities the Covid-19 restrictions on people’s movements across the border will be relaxed in the near future.

However, the easing will be implemented in phases and this will be done through consultation between the two sides.

Written by Sawat Ketngam
Published on 1 June 2020
Link: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1927776/1-000-cambodian-traders-protest-over-border-closure

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