RCAF Chief of General Staff Ke Kim Yan said the army would protect the results of
July's election in a statement published Friday afternoon.
A simultaneous statement from King Norodom Sihanouk signaled to Prince Ranariddh
and Sam Rainsy that the CPP's patience had reached its limit.
Sihanouk told Ranariddh and Rainsy that if they or their elected party members failed
to attend the National Assembly by Sept 24 the government would recognize neither
their legitimacy nor their parliamentary immunity.
"So if anyone encounters danger or [an] unpredictable occurrence, I will not
be able to help," Sihanouk said.
The King's Sept 10 statement which appealed to police forces not to shoot Khmer citizens
had provoked the CPP's wrath, said one Palace source. "At worst," the source
said, "the King is [now] saying get your MP status and continue with your protests..."
Ke Kim Yan said that the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) would protect the results
of the July elections. Kim Yan said the elections were free and fair; that the RCAF
condemns racism by the opposition which was creating anarchy; and that the protests
"aimed at toppling all the top institutions would bring the nation into holocaust".
"I issued the statement after I saw that there were more and more illegal demonstrations
which made the situation worse," Ke Kim Yan told the Post. "With this complicated
situation the people of Phnom Penh are more frightened...
"I request the parties who got seats at the National Assembly to join the meeting
of the Assembly. This is partly the role of the General Staff," Kim Yan said.
Ke Kim Yan's words seemed a signal to protesters that they could face overwhelming
firepower if they continue what is outright provocation toward the CPP. Hun Sen's
special forces now being used for street control, however, have yet to reach breaking
point, analysts said.
UN special representative Lakhan Mehrotra - whose own five-point peace plan was designed
to reinforce the King's initiatives - said the King's statement was not a warning,
but a "genuine piece of Royal advice".