Cambodia police use smoke grenades to break up rally
January 27, 2014 00:00
PHNOM PENH - Cambodian riot police on Monday used smoke grenades and electric batons to disperse demonstrators in the capital demanding a government licence for an independent television station.
In the latest of a series of violent crackdowns on public dissent, scores of riot police forcibly broke up the protest in front of the Ministry of Information, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
About three hundred protesters led by radio station owner Mam Sonando had marched to the ministry to demand a licence for the creation of a television station.
Cambodia has been accused of only granting television licences to pro-government media.
Protesters and journalists -- including an AFP photographer -- were hit by police batons and several were injured during the crackdown, according to rights activists.
"Other radio stations have a TV station, why can't my Beehive radio station?" Sonando, who is a prominent government critic, told AFP.
Activist Am Sam Ath of local rights group Licadho condemned the crackdown on the protesters as a "serious violation of human rights".