Woman shot by police during garment workers protest in Cambodia

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Video Discription: Originally published on November 13, 2013

A woman was shot dead on Tuesday by riot police in Cambodia during a protest by garment workers demanding better working conditions at a clothing factory for a global retailer.

According to local reports, demonstrators were marching in Phnom Penh's Stung Meanchey district. From the Singapore-owned SL Garment Processing factory they were heading to the Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's house.

The demonstration was peaceful at first, the Phnom Penh Post reported. Marchers were toe to toe with police and carrying homemade signs, including a framed photograph of the prime minister and his wife.

The bloodshed started at about 9:30 a.m. when the protesters were blocked at Stung Meanchey bridge by barricades, police officers bearing riot shields and batons, and several fire trucks.

Protesters tried to push through the barricades. Police turned water cannons on them
while they fought with rocks, bricks, wooden sticks and iron bars.

To disperse the crowd, police also beat people with batons, and used tear gas canisters and shot rubber bullets.

After some clashes between the police and the demonstrators, police switched to live ammunition and began shooting with AK-47s and handguns.

Eng Sokhom, a 49-year-old rice vendor, was selling rice near the protest and was accidentally shot in the chest.

She died on her way to the hospital. The total number of people injured by gunfire remains unconfirmed.

UN reports said police arrested 37 people, including seven monks.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, protesters dispersed by noon and traffic resumed as if nothing had happened.

Rights groups and NGOs decried the use of live ammunition by police against demonstrators.

According to the BBC, "Prime Minister Hun Sen said earlier this year that continuing protests may imperil Cambodia's garment industry and lead to firms relocating to countries like Burma, Laos or India where labour is cheaper."


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