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
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 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