PHNOM PENH —
Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh on Tuesday offered grave warnings to anyone who “tries to topple the current government.”
The minister appeared to be addressing the opposition, which has said it will call for mass demonstrations if election reform is not enacted by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
Both sides are currently negotiating to end a months-long political impasse, but the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party continues to demand meaningful reform of the National Election Committee—a sticking point in the talks.
In a speech to military personnel Tuesday, Tea Banh said Cambodia’s stability was paramount and needs protecting, including from demonstrations.
“We will not allow someone… to erupt turmoil in the country,” he said.
Kem Sokha, vice president of the Rescue Party, told VOA Khmer the opposition will hold non-violent demonstrations “as long as we have a constitution.”
“When a leader declares to ban non-violent protests, it means this country has become a dictatorship,” he said.