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Stones, bottles traded at SL Garment protest

Stones, bottles traded at SL Garment protest

Broken bottles and stones flung by security guards at striking garment workers who blocked the road in front of the factory yesterday morning injured about 10 people, worker representatives said.

The attack allegedly occurred at around 7:30am, after about 500 employees at SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd crowded the road in front of the Meanchey district factory and refused to move, said Sean Sophal, a worker
representative for Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), which represents most of SL’s some 6,000 workers.

Suffering mild injuries, workers hit by the projectiles fired from a slingshot were treated at a private clinic or tended to their own wounds, Sophal said.

“My leg, chest and head were slightly injured,” said striking worker Yin Vanna. “Other workers also suffered light injuries.”

Some strikers retaliated by throwing rocks and bottles back at the security guards, who work for a private security company, Vanna added.

Lim Chandara, assistant to SL’s chief executive officer, denied the claims, saying that the strikers were the assailants, not the victims.

“They told you a lie,” Chandara said. “Those workers threw and fired rocks with a slingshot into our factory and injured two security guards.”

The incident marks the second time this week SL workers, who began striking nearly three months ago, reported receiving injuries while demonstrating.

At least 10 SL strikers were injured on Monday, when police cracked down on a demonstration in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house.

During a demonstration last month, military police hired to guard the factory fired shots inside the factory and severely beat one demonstrator, who was later hospitalised.

Moen Tola, who heads the Community Legal Education Center’s labour program, decried the alleged attack by security guards yesterday.

“The company security guards have no authority at all to do that,” Tola said. “It’s so frustrating; the workers are seeing no results for their struggle.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

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