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Prayer and Pedaling on Day of Peace

A dozen local organizations called on Monday for peaceful resolution to the prolonged border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand, marking the International Day of Peace Monday.

A hundred participants, ranging from monks to rights workers prayed for peace before the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, while others rode bicycles through the capital in matching peace T-shirts.

Nearly 300 people participated, coming from universities, schools and NGOs, in a ride that started from the National Assembly building, continued to Wat Phnom and finally stopped at the famous spiritual sanctuary of Dorng Keu in front of the Royal Palace.

Before the end of event, about 100 participants sat down with Buddhist monks and nuns and prayed for world peace.

Prok Vanny, one of the organizers, said the day was meant to disseminate awareness to people and spread a message of peace.

But Monday's day of peace came following a tumultuous weekend at the border, where tension remains high over Preah Vihear temple and disputed border territory nearby.

Ream Rathamony, vice president of the Youth Resource Development Program, said he still was worried Cambodia would not avoid conflict with Thailand again over the temple, and he appealed to the two countries to avoid armed conflict.

"We suffered civil war for nearly 30 years, and many women and children became widows and orphans after the war," he said, adding that he did not want to see war again.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the Cambodian government has clung to keeping peace so that it has chance to develop the country.

During his visit to Cambodia in June, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva vowed to avoid armed clashes with Cambodia over the border issue.