Woman shot dead in Cambodia protest clash: activists

Woman shot dead in Cambodia protest clash: activists

PHNOM PENH - A woman was shot dead and several people injured in clashes between protesting garment workers and riot police in the Cambodian capital Tuesday, a rights group and family members said.

The clashes erupted as hundreds of employees from a factory supplying global brands marched towards Prime Minister Hun Sen's home in the heart of Phnom Penh to demand better working conditions.

"This is a cruel crackdown by the authorities," said Am Sam Ath from local rights group Licadho, at a city hospital where the injured were taken.

The activist told AFP that five others suffered gunshot wounds during the unrest.

Authorities earlier said that security forces had used water cannon as demonstrators threw rocks and set a police vehicle alight. They have not confirmed witness reports of a more forceful response including rubber bullets and tear gas.

The dead woman was named as 49-year-old Eng Sokhom by family members.

"My mother was shot in the chest while she was selling rice on the roadside," said her daughter Vong Voleak.

An AFP reporter at the scene said local people had found what appeared to be a bullet casing near the street stall.

Hundreds of riot police, many armed with batons and shields, were on the capital's streets, which were littered with rocks and tear gas canisters after the protesters were dispersed.

The situation appeared to have calmed down by midday.

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