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Police Use Force and Brutality, Says Rights Official in Battambang


Police arrested four people and injured another in a clash between police and vendors at Thmar Kaul, Battambang province on New Year's eve.

Human rights officials and witnesses told VOA Khmer that the clash occured after the vendors had refused to obey police's order to dismantle their stalls.

Cambodia Center for Human Rights (CCHR) official, Chhim Savuth says over 30 armed police officers fired two shots in the air to disperse the protesters who set fire on tires Monday evening.

Chhim Savuth calls the police's use of force a violation of human rights.

"This is a violation of human rights, because there should be real principles, even though they are vendors. They have been vendors for a long time, 10-20 years. They have the rights, and if we want to develop something, (we) have to use an agreement for a compromise. There should not be a use of force, of arms like this at all. This affects our country, for a democratic country."

Ham Keung, a vendor at Thmar Kaul says that the vendors do not agree with the authorities who want to dismantle their stalls.

Battambang provincial police commissioner, Kang Sakhan says that the police released the four men after educating them for several hours.

"At night, the tires were set on fire at the market. When the people in charge arrived at the scene, they threw bottle of alcohol and rocks at them. We then tried to stop them. This morning, after the lecture, (we) let them go home."

Battambang governor, Prach Chan says that the authorities dismantle the market because it lacks hygiene and beauty.

"The market is dirty, and lacks beauty. If there should be a fire, people won't be able to escape. This is for the people's health."

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