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Workers Add Their Numbers to Demonstrations

  • Kong Sothanarith

Thousands of workers protest in front of Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (131227)

Thousands of workers protest in front of Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (131227)

Thousands of workers demonstrated in Phnom Penh on Friday, joining with opposition protests that entered their 12th day.

The workers called for a raise in their basic monthly salaries, while supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party are calling for a recall election and for Prime Minister Hun Sen to step down.

Workers want a monthly minimum wage of $160 per month to keep up with the rising cost of living in Cambodia. A meeting of trade unions and government workers late on Friday yielded no decisions to respond to the demands.

Friday’s demonstration marked an escalation in protests and come after Hun Sen warned of a “third hand” that could get involved in demonstrations if they continue.

Over 100,000 people demonstrated last Sunday, stopping traffic in the streets of Phnom Penh.

In the past Hun Sen has stayed in the public eye during demonstrations, but recently, he has remained relatively quiet and is currently on a state visit to Vietnam.

Peter Tan Keo, a political analyst, told VOA Khmer this week that the “third hand” comment, could mean these demonstrations could “spill into full-scale instability and violence.”

That is something the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party could “use to their advantage,” he said.

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