Workers, Military Police Scuffle Over Speakers

About 100 striking workers scuffled with military police outside the Hong Kong-owned CWKH Garment factory in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district on Thursday, according to union representatives and a military police official.

Tensions peaked around 8 a.m. when about 30 military police attempted to confiscate loud speakers being used by the striking workers, said Sum Sothea, a representative of the Khmer Union Federation of Workers Spirit.

“The factory called the military police to take our loud speakers and to threaten the workers to stop them protesting,” he said.

The scuffle lasted about 20 minutes and was followed by a standoff that ended at 11 a.m., when the military police left.

There were no serious injuries reported. Pu Davy, deputy municipal military police chief, denied Mr. Sothea’s claim that the factory had called them in.

“I told the military police to go to the factory…but we just came to stop unionists from preventing workers who want to come to work,” he said.

About 400 workers have been striking at CWKH since September 8, calling for the reinstatement of 14 sacked union representatives.

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