The National Police are poised to prevent protests against the Supreme Court today as it hears the case to dissolve the opposition CNRP.
General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the National Police, said protests outside the court would only cause public disorder and disturb the court process.
“We don’t want the public to disturb court procedures,” Gen Sopheak said, noting that forces will be deployed around the courthouse to prevent demonstrations.
Gen Sopheak said the forces will immediately take action against any gatherings outside the court.
“Action will be taken against those who abuse public order or the law,” he said.
The court is hearing the case against the opposition today following complaints filed by Funcinpec and the Cambodian Youth Party in the wake of CNRP leader Kem Sokha’s arrest on treason charges.
Mr Sokha has been charged with treason over comments made in 2013 video footage from Australia-based CBN news, which showed him saying the US government had been helping him to push for regime change in Cambodia since 1993.
Prosecutors will argue the CNRP as a whole colluded with a foreign power to topple the government through a colour revolution.
Interior Ministry lawyer Ky Tech submitted additional evidence to the Supreme Court yesterday evening, also asking it to ban 118 senior CNRP officials from politics for five years.
“Although the lawyers representing the CNRP will not attend the trial, the procedure will still progress 100 percent,” Mr Tech said. “The court issued summons and it is their right not to attend.”
Police also plan to increase the presence of security forces at key targets today, including embassies, according to an order from Deputy National Police Commissioner Chhay Sinarith.
“Deploy open forces, with the cooperation of the military police and local authorities, to patrol everywhere to influence public psychology and ensure timely responses to gatherings,” the order said.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability-Cambodia, said the authorities’ plans to prevent protests against the Supreme Court hearing will ensure the safety of citizens, especially if a verdict to dissolve the party is issued.
“People can express their views on the issues at the polls and avoid protests,” he said.
On Monday, CNRP vice-president Mu Sochua said via Facebook from England that party supporters should gather in front of the Supreme Court during the hearing to show their support.
“I appeal to the people to be strong, wear the CNRP shirt, carry CNRP signs, and come to gather on behalf of legal rights,” she said.
But the CNRP issued a press release distancing itself from her post yesterday.
“The CNRP is not responsible for any actions and statement made by individuals” without the seal of the party as a whole, the statement said.