Skip to main content

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

By Joe Freeman and Jethro Mullen, CNN
January 3, 2014 -- Updated 1639 GMT (0039 HKT)
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
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1921 GMT (0321 HKT)
The CDC's Rebecca Levine, tasked with tracking the spread of Ebola, shares her experiences in this video diary.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1140 GMT (1940 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT