PHNOM PENH —
Nine people were injured, three of them seriously, when housing rights demonstrators clashed with police on Friday morning.
About 50 evictees from the Borei Keila neighborhood of Phnom Penh tried to position themselves in a building development at the site of their former homes, when they ran into about 100 police.
“They came and beat everybody,” said Sor Sorn, one of the protesters.
Among those injured was a pregnant woman, witnesses said. The injured were taken to the offices of the rights group Licadho before they were moved to local health clinics.
Borei Keila residents have been in a conflict with the development company, Phanimex, since 2007.
“Violence cannot solve the problem, but will build up a culture of aggression,” said Am Sam Ath, lead investigator for Licadho.
Long Dimanche, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh government, said the residents were occupying the building “illegally” and have put themselves at risk for a lawsuit in the courts. He downplayed Friday’s clash as “not serious.”