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On Valentine’s Day, a Somber Tone for Factory Workers

Policemen detain a man during clashes with garment workers in Phnom Penh, Nov. 12, 2013.
At the Canadia Industrial Zone, the site of last month’s deadly crackdown on labor protests, factory workers gathered with loved ones to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

In a festive mood, they exchanged flowers and small gifts with each other. But even so, the shooting deaths of four workers in those crackdowns was not far from their minds.

“I wanted to buy flowers for the dead workers, but I decided not to, because I don’t know where I would put the flowers,” Im Sophoan, 24, told VOA Khmer.

At least four people were killed and dozens injured when police opened fire on protesters Jan. 3. No police have been arrested or reprimanded in the incident.

Chea Mony, head of the Free Trade Union, said the dead workers would be remembered, but it is not part of Cambodian culture to hold a ceremony for them on Valentine’s Day.