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Six Seriously Injured as Housing Activists Clash With Police

Cambodian riot policemen block protesters from Boeung Kak lake villager, during a protest rally to mark the World Women Day, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, March. 8, 2013. Hundreds of protesters from Boeung Kok lake on Friday staged a rally to demand the release a villager Yoam Bopha, who was arrested by local authorities after she protested over compensation for loss of her house due to a new luxury housing development. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
PHNOM PENH - At least 11 people were injured in violent clashes between housing activists and police on Wednesday, as demonstrators attempted to march on the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Witnesses and rights activists said six people were seriously injured after they were beaten by riot police armed with shields and electric batons. Another three people fainted, witnesses said.

About 100 protesters pushed against some 200 police, as demonstrators demanded the release of Yorm Bopha, an activist who has been in jail since December. The protesters were trying to break through a police barricade preventing them from reaching the prime minister’s house.

“Today I regret to have seen these violations, and I think this will affect the Cambodian government before the election,” said Am Sam Ath, monitoring supervisor for the rights group Licadho.

The clash was the latest among many between housing activists and security forces. The eviction protests have proven an intractable problem for both local and national leaders, as the country heads toward parliamentary elections in July.

Sen Touch, 42, a victim of the Boeung Kak lake development evictions, said she was beaten on her hands and legs after she exited a restroom near the demonstration. She called Wednesday’s clash an “injustice” for the activists from Boeung Kak.