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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cops commended for staving off ‘colour revolution’

Armed riot police get into formation as protesters demonstrate outside the National Assembly to celebrate May Day earlier this month.
Armed riot police get into formation as protesters demonstrate outside the National Assembly to celebrate May Day earlier this month. Pha Lina

Cops commended for staving off ‘colour revolution’

Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Cambodia’s top cop Neth Saveoun yesterday praised the Kingdom’s police officers for their swift suppression of attempted “colour revolutions” in statements released to mark the 72nd anniversary since the creation of the National Police.

Kheng, who is also a deputy prime minister, used the anniversary as an opportunity to warn officers of myriad looming threats.

Among these, he cited “civil war, terrorism, ISIS, the dispute over islands in the South China Sea, weapons that can destroy the world and widespread cross-border crime”.

But despite this turbulence, he said police have done a good job in protecting Cambodia’s political stability, something the government has increasingly cast as under threat as commune and national elections approach and the opposition party gains popularity.

“The border is calm, peaceful, friendly and cooperative,” he said, later saying total crime had fallen 5 percent, drug crackdowns had doubled and traffic accidents had dropped 11 percent since last year.

“Cambodia’s political stability has been guaranteed, terrorists, social chaos and any attempts to stage a colour revolution have been prevented,” he said.

Colour revolutions refer to a number of peaceful citizen-led movements that toppled regimes in the former Soviet Union. As elections approach, government officials have become increasingly preoccupied with the term, at times accusing the opposition and elements of civil society of trying to foment revolution.

In a separate statement released on May 12 to mark the anniversary, National Police Chief Neth Saveoun said his officers had prevented 1,000 cases of strikes, demonstrations and “colour revolutions”.

He also added that crimes involving explosives had dropped 70 percent. Reached yesterday, land rights activist Chan Puthisak criticised the National Police for boasting about cracking down on dissidents.

“Their successful crackdowns are a violation of human rights and a demonstration of power,” Puthisak said.

“They killed demonstrators and arrested people, beat them and jailed them. The authorities do not allow people to gather and express their views.”

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