Locals protest against Thai nationalist group

19:28, January 13, 2011      

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Local Thai residents living near the Thai-Cambodian border on Thursday gathered to protest against the Thai nationalist group's threat to close the border checkpoint, Bangkok Post online reported.

About 300 local people in four border districts of Sa Kaeo province gathered in front of the office of the Municipality of Aranyaprathet after the nationalist "Thai Patriots Network" (TPN) threatened to force the closure of the border checkpoint to pressure Phnom Penh to free the seven Thais being held in Cambodia, police said.

These seven Thais, including one ruling Democrat Party lawmaker, have been detained in Cambodia for illegally entering the country since December 29 last year. Two of them have been freed on bail.

The local protesters said the responsibility for helping the seven Thais rests with the government, not the TPN, adding that the safety of people living along the border would be at risk if war broke out.

Theerayuth Thammasaroj, the provincial police chief, ordered police in the four border districts to set up checkpoints and search vehicles entering the border area for weapons. A list of TPN core members and vehicle licence plate numbers was distributed to police at all checkpoints.

The Khlong Luek-Poi Pet checkpoint was open as usual on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the Thai government will not allow TPN nationalists to protest at a main border crossing against the trial of seven Thais in Cambodia.

Thailand and Cambodia have been embroiled in a long-standing border dispute.

Source: Xinhua

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