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Cambodian police fire tear gas to break up protest clashes

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian police Tuesday fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators demanding authorities reopen the country's main protest venue, as clashes left at least 30 people injured, rights groups said.

Violence erupted after around 300 opposition activists protested outside Phnom Penh’s "Freedom Park" which has been closed since a bloody crackdown on striking garment workers in January.

Scores of security guards and protesters fought with sticks and stones injuring at least 30 people, mostly guards, said Chan Soveth of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC).

An AFP photographer at the scene saw at least two guards lying on the ground bleeding with head wounds.

"Police then fired several tear gas bombs" to disperse the demonstration, said Am Sam Ath of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO).

It was the latest opposition rally in Cambodia where authorities have responded violently to any form of public dissent in recent months.

AFP


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