Skip to main content

At least 3 dead after Cambodian security forces open fire on protesters

By Joe Freeman and Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 11:39 AM EST, Fri January 3, 2014
A man armed with a wooden stick rallies during a protest in front of a garment factory in Phnom Penh on January 3. A man armed with a wooden stick rallies during a protest in front of a garment factory in Phnom Penh on January 3.
HIDE CAPTION
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
Protests in Cambodia
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Security forces use live rounds on striking garment workers, witnesses say
  • Protesters throw rocks, use slingshots and hurl Molotov cocktails
  • The workers have been rallying since last week to demand higher wages
  • Their strike comes amid massive anti-government demonstrations

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (CNN) -- Cambodian security forces fired on garment workers protesting in the country's capital Friday, killing at least three people.

The workers, who have been demonstrating since last week to demand higher wages, clashed with riot and military police outside the Canadia industrial park in southwestern Phnom Penh, where many garment factories are located.

Protesters threw rocks, used slingshots and made improvised barricades by amassing scrap in the middle of the road and lighting it on fire.

Security forces responded with live ammunition rounds, witnesses said. Gunfire rang out in the area.

Chuon Narin, Phnom Penh's deputy police chief, said three people were killed and two others wounded in the clashes.

But a local human rights group, Licadho, said it believed that at least four people were killed and dozens more were injured.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Surya P. Subedi, said four people were reportedly killed.

"I am deeply concerned at the latest clashes in Cambodia and deplore the loss of life," Subedi said in a statement. "I call on the authorities to exercise restraint towards protestors. Any use of force by officials must be subject to the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality."

He also called on protesters to show restraint.

Chan Dy, a garment worker in the industrial park, said he was "very worried because many workers were injured."

At the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, where some of those hurt were brought, Dr. Chin Kosal in the intensive care unit said staff members were treating six gunshot victims and one other wounded person.

Lying on a bed in a bloodied shirt, Keat Rady, 20, said she was cheering along with protesters in the street Friday morning when a bullet came from above and hit her on the left side of her upper chest, traveling through the flesh and into her left arm.

Scores of people were reported to have been arrested as police continued to break up the demonstrations.

The garment workers are striking to demand an increase in their minimum wage from $80 to $160 a month. They have rejected the government's offers of $95 and $100.

Protests are frequent in Cambodia's important garment industry, which is estimated to employ 400,000 people and account for roughly $5 billion in exports.

Some scuffles had taken place during the strikes, but the situation escalated Thursday when several protesters were arrested.

The International Labor Organization this week urged the parties involved to use dialogue to resolve the dispute.

The protests are fueled by the wage issue but are supported by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which has recently been leading large-scale marches and demonstrations against the government in the capital.

The opposition claims that it was cheated out of crucial votes during July's national elections, which were won by long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party.

Journalist Joseph Freeman reported from Phnom Penh, and CNN's Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 9:44 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT