A day after a bipartisan election reform committee put the neutrality of the armed forces into a list of proposed areas of reform, Defence Minister Tea Banh reiterated that the armed forces would not tolerate opposition supporters calling for Hun Sen to step down.
“It hurt me when I heard the voices from the street calling for ‘change’ and calling for Hun Sen to step down,” he told about 500 military personnel at the Institute for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance yesterday.
“We will not allow anyone to destroy peace and stability, as they are values that we have to maintain.”
Banh also called for further investigation into the violence on Veng Sreng Boulevard in January that left at least four civilians dead after protesters clashed with security forces.
“We have to investigate everything in order to find out the inciters, and they will have to be made responsible [in front of the law].”
Separately, a working group on the reform of security forces, including representatives from the government, civil society, armed forces and police, was formed on Monday.
Heiner Hanggi of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, which is supporting the group, said its establishment was “not linked to specific domestic issues”.