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Government Orders 50,000 Troops Deployed to Secure Elections

A man walks toward a coronavirus warning sign outside a medical center in Manchester, Britain.

The government has ordered 50,000 members of the armed forces to be deployed during the upcoming local elections to provide security.

Speaking at a police academy on Tuesday, Interior Minister Sar Kheng praised the actions of the armed forces during the peaceful 2013 election.

“At that time there were no deaths in the election even though there were words and phrases exchanged that impacted each other ... there were clashes but no one was killed,” he said.

In protests and strikes following the 2013 election, at least five people were killed by the security forces.

Kirt Chantharith, National Police spokesman, said the troops would be deployed to 20,000 polling stations around the country, adding that they would not disrupt the vote.

“There is nothing to be afraid of ... we have experience in providing public order and security in past elections, so I hope in the commune election process that there will be no safety issues.”

Yoeurng Sotheara, a legal officer with election monitor Comfrel, said it was standard procedure to deploy security officials to monitor the polls, adding that if there was “large-scale armed forces deployment” it could disrupt the democratic process.