Roundup: One killed, 6 injured in Cambodian police, garment protesters clash

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Cambodian anti-riot police and garment protesters clashed here on Tuesday morning, leaving one person dead, 6 injured, and a dozen of protesters were arrested.

The incident occurred in the capital's Meanchey district when hundreds of protesting workers at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd had tried to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen's house for help with demand for payrise and better working conditions, but the police did not allow them to march by blocking the road.

"In the clash, strikers threw stones at police and set a police car and two motorcycles on fire," Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police, told Xinhua. "The police have retaliated by using water cannons and smoke bombs to disperse protestors."

He said at least a policeman was injured on his head by protestors' stones.

"After about a three-hour clash, we had arrested more than 10 protesters for inquiry," he said.

Eyewitnesses said police had fired real bullets on protesters, accidentally killed a female food seller on the sidewalk, and injured at least five protesters.

Vong Voleak, 23, the daughter of the dead woman, said that her mother, 49, was accidentally hit by a live bullet on her chest while she was standing at her food booth.

"She died shortly after being sent to hospital," she told reporters after the incident.

However, Kheng Tito denied that the police had shot real bullets to crack down on protesters. "Our forces have never fired live bullets on protesters, it is against the law."

Ath Thon, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers' Democratic Union, who led the protest, said the violence broke out as the police prevented about 2,000 strikers from marching to Prime Minister Hun Sen's house.

SL Factory workers have been on strike since early August to demand payrise and better working conditions.

Garment industry is the country's largest income earner, accounting than 80 percent of the country's exports. Last year, the country earned 4.6 billion U.S. dollars from garment exports, according to the report of the Ministry of Commerce.

Currently, the country has about 500 garment and footwear factories employing some 510,600 workers. Endi

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