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Opposition Barred From Meeting Detainees for a Second Day

Cambodian Buddhist monks run together with supporters of Cambodian National Rescue Party from a rally site of the Democracy Square in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. Cambodian police have pushed out about 1,000 anti-government demonstrators from a park in the capital Phnom Penh, a day after four people were killed in a crackdown on a labor protest. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Riot police and security forces prevented an opposition delegation from meeting with 23 protest detainees in Kampong Cham province on Tuesday, for second day in a row.

No violence was reported, as the delegation from the Cambodia National Rescue Party met with more than 100 police and military police armed with batons and shields.

Rights workers say the detainees have a right to visitation, but prison officials say they are only letting family meet them.

The detainees are workers and labor leaders caught up in a violent crackdown on demonstrations Jan. 2 and Jan. 3.

Am Sam Sath, lead investigator for the rights group Licadho, said prison guards locked the gates Tuesday to ensure that the Rescue Party delegation could not enter—a violation of prisoners’ rights.

“The accused persons have their own rights, to assembly and to meet other people,” he said.

Rescue Party member Son Chhay told reporters outside the provincial jail that the delegation should be allowed to meet with the prisoners.

“We are only here to visit,” he said. “That the military and prison security have used their guns is not right.”

Kouy Bun Sorn, director of the Interior Ministry’s prison department, said he was following the law because the 23 detainees remain under investigation.