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Impact of Thai Coup on Cambodia Uncertain

A Thai student holds an anti-coup sign in front of a group of soldiers during a brief protest near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand Friday, May 23, 2014. Thailand's ruling military on Friday summoned the entire ousted government and members of
The military coup d’etat in Thailand has had little impact so far on ordinary Cambodians, but rights workers said Friday it was of some concern.

“Even though it is not in Cambodia, when we see all power put into military hands, we are concerned,” Pung Chhiv Kek, founder of the rights group Licadho, told VOA Khmer. “If the country becomes a dictatorship controlled by the military, we’re afraid that economic and political and social issues could be matters of concern.”

The Thai military announced it was taking over the country on Thursday, overthrowing the elected prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who has typically had cordial relations with Cambodia.

Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Cambodia was following the situation closely, but considered the change in power an internal matter.

The coup could have an economic impact, especially in tourism. Many tourists cross into Cambodia from Thailand, and international travelers have been warned to stay away from the country, said Tourism Minister Thong Khon.

For everyday Cambodians like Tieung Ngoc, a tuk-tuk driver, the coup made the news. He read about it via Facebook, he said.

“It good because the coup did not cost blood, he said. “We aren’t thinking much about it, because we’ve got political problems too, and we haven’t solved them.”