Three textile workers were shot and wounded on Monday when an unidentified man opened fire on protesters in Svay Rieng province.
Rights officials and witnesses said protesters were demanding a pay raise when they clashed with police and factory security guards.
"The shooting happened after a thousand-strong protesters clashed with police," a witness at the scene who asked not to be identified told VOA Khmer by phone. "Police tried to break up the peaceful demonstrators by using electric batons and shields, but protesters fought back using wooden sticks and throwing rock."
The victims were identified as Bun Chenda, 21, Keo Nea, 18, and Nuth Sakhorn, 23. All suffered wounds from handgun shots to their arms, chest, or back.
"I saw a gun man jumping from a vehicle and pulled out a hand gun from his waist and opened fire on the workers," Keo Nea said.
The workers were demanding better work conditions and an increase in pay.
Sun Sam Ath, deputy provincial police commissioner, declined to comment. But, Svay Reang governor Cheang Am denied that police opened fire. He said four policemen were also injured.
“We will investigate the incident,” he said.