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RCAF officials told to protect the gov’t

Defence Minister Tea Banh (right) chairs a meeting of senior Royal Cambodian Armed Forces staff in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photo supplied
Defence Minister Tea Banh (right) chairs a meeting of senior Royal Cambodian Armed Forces staff in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photo supplied

RCAF officials told to protect the gov’t

Security officials were again exhorted yesterday to protect the “legitimate government” and block any “colour revolution” that threatens it in a meeting of senior Royal Cambodian Armed Forces staff to discuss work conducted over the first six months of the year.

According to a copy of Defence Minister Tea Banh’s speech, members of RCAF were admonished to fight against the destruction of natural resources including illegal logging and mining – and also to stymie attempts to topple the government, rhetoric that has become increasingly common as controversy has grown surrounding legal cases against opposition leaders, rights workers and others.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said the closed-door meeting of about 100 senior RCAF officials was merely a routine gathering.

“It was just an overall reviewing of defence affairs in the first six months [of the year],” Socheat said. “The minister also called for the participants to be alert about a colour revolution, and to protect the legitimate government, the constitution and the King.”

The government has recently likened the ongoing “Black Monday” demonstrations – in which participants wear black to “mourn” the death of human rights and call for rights workers’ release – to a colour revolution, a term for largely nonviolent popular movements that have unseated autocratic governments.

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