Military commanders from across the country have vowed to quash any “colour revolution” instigated by outside forces and prevent local leaders from using foreign powers to overthrow the Cambodian government – once again toeing the line set by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s anti-US rhetoric.
The statements came days after Hun Sen lashed out at the US, instructing the Immigration Department to root out American “spies” tied to fomenting a purported colour revolution in the country. The anti-US rhetoric follows charges of “treason” against opposition leader Kem Sokha for saying he received US assistance for planning his political career.
General Srey Doek, commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ Intervention Division 3, yesterday said it was the armed forces’ duty to protect the country’s “legitimate government”, and accused opposition leaders of using the “shelter” of foreign governments to incite attacks in the country.
“We thank Samdech Techo [Hun Sen] who has led the government and solved this in time to prevent colour revolution like the one on Veng Sreng Boulevard,” he said yesterday, referring to 2014 wage strikes violently quashed by the government.
The comments were echoed by other military personnel: Duong Samneang, commander of the military’s Intervention Brigade 7; Lieutenant General Huoth Chheang, commander of Military Region 1; Lieutenant General Prum Pheng, commander of the Intervention Brigade 1 – all vowing to “smash” any attempts to topple the government.
CNRP lawmaker Cheam Channy, who handles defence issues for the party, said the military’s statements against the party violated the military’s responsibility to remain neutral in political issues.
“When our military releases these statements, it is their right but the Cambodian people will know [the reality] about this,” he said.