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Opposition Leaders Released After Court Questioning

Sam Rainsy, front center, the head of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) waves to the crowd before entering Phnom Penh Municipality Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. Sam Rainsy and his party's Deputy President Kem Sokha appeared for questioning at the court about their possible involvement in inciting violence and social unrest, after four garment workers were brutality shot dead by government armed forces, on Jan. 3, according to a CNRP lawmaker. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Cambodia’s opposition leaders were questioned for four hours at a Phnom Penh court on Tuesday, but they were not held on charges related to the incitement of violence during recent demonstrations.

Also questioned was Rong Chhun, the outspoken head of the Cambodia Confederation of Unions. All three are accused of stirring up violence in opposition and worker demonstrations that have posed a challenge to the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Five people were killed and 40 injured in crackdowns earlier this month, after police opened fire on opposition and labor demonstrators. All three men deny having incited violence in those and other demonstrations.

Sam Rainsy, the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, and Kem Sokha, its vice president, told reporters after leaving the court Tuesday they would continue to call for non-violent demonstrations and for a recall election following July’s polls, which they say were marred by fraud.

Thousands of supporters gathered outside Phnom Penh Municipal Court, holding placards and banners and Cambodian flags, and repeating calls for Prime Minister Hun Sen to step down.

Hun Sen said in a speech Tuesday he will not resign. Speaking at a bridge inauguration in Kandal province, outside the capital, Hun Sen said he would not step down easily.

“I came to power by the constitution and will only step down by the constitution,” he said. “No more arguments.”