Prime Minister Hun Sen last Friday told a gathering of Cambodian Christians that efforts to end his rule could lead to minority religious groups being persecuted.
He also said that any new prime minister coming to power on the back of a “color revolution” would likely curb religious freedoms in the country.
“Hun Sen would feel hurt it he was robbed,” Hun Sen said, adding that he would seek to protect Christians in Cambodia from oppression.
“When Hun Sen stays, Hun Sen will allow religious practices to be done in every place and today Hun Sen and his wife came to meet you. Now, the true thing is before you, or do you want the things that were just shaky promises,” he asked.
He reiterated claims that politicians in Cambodia had attempted to foment a revolution after the 2013 election, although avoided naming members of the opposition.
An opposition spokesman could not be reached on Saturday.
Kem Ley, founder of the Grassroots Democracy Party, warned that rising unemployment in the event of a mass deportation of Cambodian migrant workers, coupled with long-running issues such as corruption, were the biggest risk factors that could lead to popular upheaval.
“For example, if Thailand or Malaysia got some problems with Asean, they would send back millions of Cambodians, causing unemployment, so it [a revolution] would happen. Thus, there should be solutions to the jobs and the courts that we formed… if they can’t provide justice to the people, the people will rise up. This is what we have to be afraid of,” he said.