Student Defends Call for ‘Color Revolution’

A student who was arrested last month over a Facebook post in which he dared people to join him in a “color revolution” said Thursday that the country’s leaders should seek to better understand the term, which refers to the use of nonviolent means to change the government.

Kong Raya, 25, was summoned by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday, but had his questioning delayed because his lawyer, Sam Sokong, was not present.

Kong Raya, center, who was arrested last month over a Facebook post, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday after his questioning was delayed. (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)
Kong Raya, center, who was arrested last month over a Facebook post, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday after his questioning was delayed. (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)

While at the court, however, Mr. Raya told reporters that there was nothing criminal about his Facebook post, in which he said he would “make a color revolution to change the regime for Khmer society.”

“I would like the head of the government and the court to please understand the meaning of ‘color revolution.’ Because color revolution is different from the single word ‘revolt,’” Mr. Raya said Thursday.

“There are many kinds of revolution, but a color revolution is a gathering of people to protest and express themselves or raise banners without causing any violence,” he added.

“So when I didn’t cause any violence, why did they arrest me?”

Police apprehended Mr. Raya on August 20 at Khemarak University in Phnom Penh, where he studied political science. According to Mr. Sokong, his lawyer, he has been charged with incitement, a crime that carries up to three years in prison.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Thursday that it was up to the court to decide whether Mr. Raya was guilty of a crime, but said the government had repeatedly stated that any attempts to start a color revolution would not be tolerated.

In a speech to the country’s security forces in July, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that all potential color revolutions must be stopped, according to a statement released at the time by the Council of Ministers.

“More importantly, Hun Sen asked the armed forces to ensure that a ‘color revolution’ cannot take place in Cambodia,” the statement said. “Under any conditions, eliminate [the revolution] to protect the legitimate government.”

[email protected]

© 2015, All rights reserved.