PHNOM PENH —
At least six people were injured, one of them seriously, as supporters of Beehive Radio operator Mam Sonando clashed with security forces during a protest near the Ministry of Information.
The ministry has refused to grant Beehive permission to expand its radio network or to add a television station to its operations.
Beehive carries programming from the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and other international agencies and is one of the few remaining independent broadcasters in the country.
Supporters had attempted to gather at Freedom Park, the government-sanctioned assembly space that was blocked by police on Sunday to prevent an opposition rally.
Beehive supporters then clashed with police who blocked them, said Am Sam Ath, lead investigator for the rights group Licadho.
“The rights to gather and express ideas are basic rights in democratic countries,” he said. “When these rights are prohibited, it seems like Cambodia is going backwards.”
Mam Sonando said his supporters have a right to assembly and that forces breaking them up “do not know the law.” “And neither do those who ordered this,” he said.
However, Phnom Penh spokesman Long Dimanche said the authorities have a right to stop “illegal activities” that lead to “social instability.”
“The gathering was illegal,” he said. “We just acted according to the law.”