Hun Sen threatens to wage 'war' on violent protesters in Cambodia

Hun Sen's threat of 'war' raises fears of unrest in next month's local election results are contested by the opposition.

Hun Sen threatens to wage 'war' on violent protesters in Cambodia

Hun Sen's threat of 'war' raises fears of unrest in next month's local election results are contested by the opposition.

10 May 2017 Wednesday 15:56
Hun Sen threatens to wage 'war' on violent protesters in Cambodia

Cambodia's prime minister has warned the opposition he will crack down on post-election protests should they turn violent.

The strong language has raised fears that unrest could grip the Southeast Asian country if next month's local-election results are contested by the opposition.

Hun Sen's warning on Wednesday made reference to protests in 2013 when supporters of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) destroyed at least two police cars following allegations of vote-rigging.

He told a gathering of former soldiers that protests of a similar nature would not be tolerated.

"Remember in 2017 and 2018 elections, if your group indulges in such activities again, armed forces will crack down on them immediately," Hun Sen said.

"If war happens, let it be."

Hun Sen's governing Cambodian People's party (CPR) won the national election in 2013 but with a reduced majority.

Since then, it has ignored opposition demands for an investigation into the election.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Virak Ou, a Cambodian human-rights activist, said Hun Sen is playing "mind games to create fear for a gain in the upcoming polls".

"It might work as Cambodians are still scarred by decades of war and violence. It won't work as well with the young people who were born after the war days," he said.

"There is too much at stake if any war or serious violence takes place. No one seems to want any of this."

Run-up to elections

Cambodians will be casting their ballots for local elections on June 4 and a national election is scheduled for July next year.

Sam Rainsy, Cambodia's self-exiled opposition leader, resigned from the CNRP in 2015 in response to plans by Hun Sen to amend political party laws that bar convicted officials from running.

Sam Rainsy was convicted of defamation by a a Phnom Penh court, a charge his supporters say was politically motivated.

Aljazeera

Updated: 10.05.2017 16:53
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