Garment Factory Strike Marred by Violence

Striking workers at the Bu Min Cambodia Garment factory in Phnom Penh said Tuesday that they would continue striking des­pite alleged verbal threats, beatings and gunfire on Monday.

The strike began in response to news that 200 of the factory’s 600 workers would be suspended until Feb 28, Cambodian Union Work­ers leader Pav Ngim said Tuesday

During the strike, two unidentified men, one wearing a camouflage uniform and the other in civ­ilian clothes, entered through the factory’s front gate on motorbikes, Pav Ngim said.

When strikers blocked the path of a car leaving the factory, Pav Ngim said, the two men emerged from the factory and fired shots into the air and threatened the strikers with their guns before beating both him and his deputy leader Phorn Sophal.

Four other men then got into the car and unsuccessfully tried to drive through the crowd as military police arrived on the scene, Pav Ngim said.

Police took the four occupants of the car away, but the two gunmen escaped into the factory.

The factory gates on Tuesday were scrawled with the words “factory owners hired killers to murder workers” in black letters.

Mey Chandara, Meanchey district military police chief, said that the four men in the car denied any connection to the shooting and were released.

“We did not arrest those four men, we only called them in for ques­tioning,” Mey Chandara said. “I sent the four of them to the district police for further in­ves­tigation and questioning.”

Meanchey district police Chief Huot Chanyaran said he had only received two of the four men.

“I released them already be­cause they are not the gunmen,” Huot Chanyaran added. “I cannot arrest them, they are only ordinary people.”

Though the strike continues, Meanchey district Labor and Inspection department official Koy Sambath said that meetings between factory management and strikers made modest prog­ress on Tuesday.

 

 

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