Police briefly arrested a member of the Free Trade Union and two members of the Free Union of Cable Television on Thursday for disturbing public order by participating in a sit-down protest, officials said.
The three men were arrested outside the offices of Phnom Penh Municipal Cable TV and held at Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district police headquarters for two hours, then released after signing agreements not to demonstrate again.
FTU member Pol Sopheak, cable television union president Eng Vanna and his deputy Ly Senghorn had been protesting for the reinstatement of eight employees who they claim were fired for establishing a union at the company.
The cable company’s general director Kham Poun Keomony said the employees were fired for moonlighting on company time, and will not get their jobs back.
The three men were arrested at 8:15 am and driven away on police motorcycles, Eng Vanna said.
“Police forced me to ride on their motorbikes. I was afraid of violence so I agreed to go,” he said. “Police abused my rights.”
The sit-down protest did not disturb public order, he added. “We just sat down in front of the station.”
District governor Srun Sron said he invited a company representative to meet the three men at the police station, but the representative refused to reinstate the sacked workers.
“We didn’t reach a fruitful compromise,” Srun Sron said, adding that he asked the union to call off the protest as they did not have permission and were causing traffic jams.
“When there is a public gathering, it creates crowds and affects public order,” he said.