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Anti-Junta Movement Not in Cambodia, Thai ‘Red Shirt’ Says

Thai ''Red Shirts'' anti-government protesters gather in front of the gate of the Bangkok Remand prison, Bangkok, file photo.

A Thai political official says his movement is not using Cambodia as a base of operations for opposition to the Thail military junta that took control of the country more than a month ago.

In an email to VOA Khmer Jakrapob Penkair, a leader of the so-called “Red Shirts,” who support the ousted government of Yingluck Shinawatra, said places under consideration for a “base” are “all in the western hemisphere.”

He said the aim was not to set up a government in exile, but an organization that will promote human rights and oppose military “domination.”

“I rarely come to Cambodia now,” he said. “I do not want your country to be subjected to the Thai dictators’ bullying.”

The Thai military has revoked his passport and charged him with associating in armed struggle, said Jakrapob, who was the former spokesman for Thaksin Shinawatra, a populist former premier who himself was removed by a coup in 2006.

“The charges leveled against me today by Thailand’s illegitimate coup regime reveal, once again, the desperation of the Generals and the Establishment they represent,” he wrote. “The false claim that I am behind some kind of ‘armed element’ is not only a fiction but yet another example of the injudiciousness of the fraudulent Thai junta.”

The regimes of both Thaksin and his sister, Yingluck, have traditionally been closer to Cambodian leadership than the “Yellow Shirt” opposition and the military—both of which helped drive a prolonged crisis over the border temple of Preah Vihear, between 2008 and 2012.

Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, on Monday said authorities here will not allow groups to establish “shadow governments” against any country which has an embassy in Cambodia.