Political analysts and social researchers have said Cambodia is vulnerable to the sort of regime change movements seen in post-Soviet nations and the Arab Spring, warning such a “colour revolution” could damage the country.
During a round-table discussion on revolutions in Phnom Penh yesterday, Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch said a colour revolution would not only harm people, but the entire country.
He cited political protests following the 2013 national election, comparing demonstrations in Stung Meanchey district and on Veng Sreng street to revolutions that occurred in Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004 and Tunisia in 2011.
“The events were similar to revolutions in those countries. Protesters also called on Prime Minister Hun Sen to step down,” Mr Touch said. “The government needs to prevent this happening again.”
Sum Chhumbun, a social researcher at the academy, said the phrase “colour revolution” refers to violent protest movements used to overthrow government leaders.
“Colour revolutions have emerged and spread out from Europe to the Middle East and Asia, as well as Latin America,” he said.
He added that Cambodia had suffered a regime change revolution in 1970 at the hands of General Lon Nol, with US support. He argued the event dragged the country into three decades of civil war, killing millions of innocent people.
“We need to ensure a colour revolution does not happen in the country again,” Mr Chhumbun said.
Hun Manith, Mr Hun Sen’s son and the director of the Defence Ministry’s military intelligence unit, also last year compared the 2013 post-election protests to situations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
“Unfortunately, the plan for a regime change against the legitimate government has never gone away. With the help and funding of foreign governments either directly or indirectly, the plan is still in effect up until now,” Mr Manith said at the time.