PHNOM PENH — Baffled police broke up animal rights group PETA's first protest in Cambodia Monday, saying activists who sat in a cage outside a KFC outlet had disturbed "public order" with their "strange" actions.
The two foreign campaigners from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the protest in the capital Phnom Penh was meant to raise awareness of the alleged cruel treatment of chickens by the fast food chain, which has 10 restaurants in the country.
Preap Borei, a deputy police chief of the capital's Daun Penh district, said the duo were asked to stop their protest because it "affected public order" and were briefly taken in for questioning before being let go.
"We wanted to know the reason for the protest because it's strange. In Cambodia, no one wants to be caged, but they got into the cage by themselves," he told AFP.
One of the protesters, PETA Asia director Jason Baker, said the lives of the poultry went from "shell to hell".
"Most people don't realise the chickens' beaks are cut off, that they are crammed into spaces so small they can't spread their wings," he told AFP from inside the coop, shortly before he and his colleague were escorted to a local police station.
The short-lived stunt, a novelty in a country where animal welfare issues get little attention, attracted several dozen curious onlookers.
"We don't have much knowledge about animal rights. Mainly we're concerned about chemicals in animals that can affect our own health," KFC customer Khuon Daroeurn said.
The 32-year-old travel agency employee added that PETA's protest was likely too small to have much impact. "I don't think many people will think about it," she said.
Benjamin Jerome, general manager of Cambodia's KFC restaurants, said KFC got its chicken from "reliable" US suppliers who met "international standards". He said he did not believe the animals were subject to cruelty.
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