Accessibility links

Breaking News

Cambodia Authorities Raid Protest Camp, Ban Further Demonstrations

Security officers try to beat Buddhist monks who took part in a rally of the Cambodian National Rescue Party in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.
Cambodian police have forced anti-government protesters from their rally camp in the capital, Phnom Penh, and banned any further protests against the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Hundreds of security personnel armed with batons and shields moved in on the camp in the capital city's Freedom Park on Saturday, causing hundreds of protesters to flee.

Phnom Penh's municipal governor, Pa Socheatvong, issued a statement banning the use of the park and marches through the city's streets, citing security reasons. The statement cast doubt on whether a three-day protest, scheduled to begin Sunday, would go ahead.

The raid on the park came a day after police opened fire on striking garment workers, killing at least four people.Witnesses say security forces fired assault rifles at protesters in Phnom Penh as they blocked a road and hurled stones at police. A local human rights group said more than 20 were wounded and at least 10 people were arrested outside the Yak Jin factory near the city. The group condemned the violence and the deployment of an elite unit of soldiers - Special Command Unit 911.

Nuth Romduol of the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party and an elected member of parliament told VOA's Khmer service that the soldiers were the aggressors.

But Chap Sophorn, the commander of the paramilitary unit, said his troops only responded after protesters began throwing rocks at them.

Prime Minister Hun Sen faces a growing challenge to his 28-year rule from garment workers demanding higher pay and opposition forces demanding that he step down and call a new election because of alleged vote fraud in a July poll.