Election Day in the Afternoon
I called the UNDP driver in the afternoon to go on another ride through the city. I thought he is a good choice today not least because he has the UNDP radio which presumably delivers relevant and reliable information.
He had the following information: the office concerned with security at UNDP reported that two grenades where found at about 11 am. One of them actually exploded in front of Funcinpec headquarters but nobody died or was injured. The other grenade was found in the area of the Royal Palace and did not explode. UNDP sort of advised its employees to stay close to where they live.
We started at Norodom Boulevard. I have never seen this road as quite as this.
This is Mao Tse Toung Boulevard. The guys upfront are not members of the National Police, but of the Military Police.
This is Monivong Boulevard, one of the major veins of this city. Again, I have never seen this road as quite. To the right is the local station of the National Police, to which also the truck upfront belongs.
Also neighboring streets are not busy at all.
Monivong, extremely quite
This is one of the few places where expensive cars are sold located and is located at Monivong Boulevard. Looks like they made bad experiences.
This is around central market.
Usually this is one of the busiest places in town with mostly local people.
This is one of the voting stations. I figured that the easiest and least suspicious way to take pictures would be not to stop the moto.
This petrol station is run by the local company Sokimex, which is said to be associated with CPP. The same company collects the very significant entrance fees at the most important tourist side in the country, Angkor Wat, which is also at the heart of current Khmer national identity. Looks like they made bad experiences, too.
This is Norodom Boulevard, another major street in which beautiful houses are located.
This is in the afternoon close to Funcinpec headquarter at Monivong in the north of the city, were Monivong meets the Japanese bridge. I provided pictures of this place earlier. It is the traffic circle with odd revolver monument in the center.
The truck in the picture belongs to the national police. It has a number of banks on its backside and is capable of transporting many police men relatively fast and ready for action.
Neighboring streets are extremely quite.
This is Funcinpec headquarter, where supposedly one of the grenades exploded without hurting anybody. This was said to have happened at about 11 am. This photo was taken at about 4:30 pm.
Road 70 in the north of the city extremely quite.
Military Police at Conf. de la Russie Boulevard.
Those government buildings are located very close to each other. There is a clear presence of police at various places but not so much higher than usually.
Headquarter of the Armed Forces
Ministry of National Defense
Coucil of Ministers
Wat Phnom. This is a major tourist attraction and usually very busy with tourists and locals on weekends.
This is where the elephant usually is. Some tourists like to go on a ride on his back. However, this fellow is not here today. There would not be much business anyway.
We stopped at a small stand to have some soft drinks. While we were sitting suddenly a convoy of about 20 strong motor bikes with men from the Military Policy with AK 47’s emerged and drove slowly around Wat Phnom. I was too slow (and too careful) to take a picture while they were passing very close to us. I found this a strong demonstration of police power. Given that this is Election Day I found this borders political intimidation.
However, the voting stations had closed at 3 pm already and this is maybe 5 pm. I mentioned earlier the statement of the head of the National Police to use force to prevent post-election protest demonstrations from happening. This might be meant as a signal of determination to execute this policy. However, those heavily armed soldiers do not belong to the National, but the Military Police.
Again, I did not take a picture when they passed close by. I took this one after they had circled Wat Phnom and went back on Norodom south, which is to say downtown. The guy on the moto is turning his head to follow the leaving convoy.
This is us. In between us is the helmet I bought about one week ago for about 17 dollars.
Surely, children are still playing in the street. This is while we are heading south on Sisowath Quay.
This is among the touristiest places in town and busier than other places I saw.
The front side of the Royal Palace where supposedly a grenade was found in the morning, which did not explode.
The National Assembly. This street has seen violent protests in the past and is likely to continue to do so during the next days.
Those folks sitting over there are members of the Military Police.
And so are those guys on Sothearos Boulevard.
And those people over there. This is close to the Monument of Independence and not far from where Prime Minister Hun Sen lives.
The temple in the background is Wat Lanka, one of the oldest pagodas in Phnom Penh and close to where I live. Today there is a polling station located on its compound.
I have never seen Sihanouk Boulevard so quite. This is where many shops located whose customers are mostly expatriates and rich locals.