Prime Minister Hun Sen hailed the government’s success in preventing a colour revolution as he presided over a ceremony to celebrate Victory Day yesterday.
Addressing more than 40,000 civil servants, students and members of the public on Koh Pich, Mr Hun Sen said the opposition had attempted to collude with a foreign power to overthrow the government.
“The organisation that cheated and betrayed the will of the people was dissolved and some of the people involved with this act are being judged by the court,” said Mr Hun Sen.
He said the 39th anniversary of liberation from the Khmer Rouge marks the country’s transformation from “a pile of ash” into a nation that people can be proud of.
“We must believe in our hard work and must remember that our success depends on internal factors, not foreigners,” Mr Hun Sen said. “If we lose our peace, we lose everything.”
“Only those who want to destroy society and forget their birthplace are against the victory of January 7,” he added.
A statement from the US Embassy yesterday said that January 7, 1979 was the day the city of Phnom Penh was liberated from the Khmer Rouge regime and when Cambodia began its journey toward a brighter and more hopeful future.
“On the 39th anniversary of that historic day, the US Embassy remembers the two million lives lost during the Khmer Rouge era and the millions more who suffered,” it said.
“We also celebrate the ingenuity, courage, and perseverance with which the Cambodian people have emerged from this period of darkness, rebuilt their country, and carried forward the process of national reconciliation.”
Mr Hun Sen warned that while a colour revolution had been prevented for now, opposition figures abroad still pose a risk to the government.
He said these figures use good language relating to democracy, freedom, the rule of law, and human rights, but their activities contradict such principles.
He claimed they had abandoned the Cambodian people when they left and were using the public as hostages to their politics.
“Real democracy in Cambodia is being strengthened in line with the rule of law, in the interests of the nation and the people,” said Mr Hun Sen.
“Cambodia thanks countries that understand the real situation here and are continuing to provide assistance for elections in the country.”
Mok Chhun, 60, from Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district, joined the January 7 celebrations.
“I want Mr Hun Sen to continue to lead Cambodia to prevent another war like the Pol Pot regime,” said Mr Chhun.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the US Embassy’s statement reflected the true meaning of Victory Day.
“Finally justice was received by the Cambodian people, the CPP and the government,” Mr Eysan said.