One man was injured and another detained during a clash Monday morning between supporters of independent radio station owner Mam Sonando and district security guards near Phnom Penh’s Wat Phnom.
Last week, Mr. Sonando and his supporters announced their plans to protest Monday in front of the Ministry of Information, demanding a TV station and more relay stations for Beehive Radio.
At about 8 a.m., Pheng Leng, 46, was standing with about two dozen protesters on Norodom Boulevard—awaiting the arrival of Mr. Sonando—when the group was surrounded by baton-wielding Daun Penh district security guards, according to Am Sam Ath, head of monitoring for local rights group Licadho.
Mr. Leng failed to heed warnings—coming from loudspeakers mounted on a nearby municipal security truck—to refrain from verbally protesting, and was set upon by a dozen members of the black-helmeted security force, according to journalists at the scene.
In a video posted to Facebook, the security guards can be seen striking Mr. Leng repeatedly over the head with their fists and batons before onlookers intervened, stepping between Mr. Leng and the security guards.
Another protester, Sreng Sophal, 37, was detained following the clash with security guards and is being held at the commune police station, according to Mr. Sam Ath.
Khim Vutha, head of the Daun Penh security force, said authorities were detaining Mr. Sophal because they suspected him of intending to cause property damage.
“We had a small confrontation and we have held one man and we are now questioning him because he bought gasoline to burn a car,” Mr. Vutha said.
Asked to elaborate, Mr. Vutha declined to comment further.
Mr. Sonando met dozens of his supporters, gathered near Wat Phnom, at about 9:30 a.m., and reiterated the importance of expanding the reach of his radio station, which remains one of the country’s only broadcast outlets for independent news.
“We need [radio] frequency. We will keep holding demonstrations until we get our frequency,” he said.
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