Striking workers and soldiers clashed in Cambodia, resulting in the arrest of 10 workers and activists, and several injuries, an official said.
Varn Pov, the head of a union that represents informal workers such as drivers and domestic staff, and nine others were arrested by the Cambodian armed forces, said military police spokesman Kheng Tito.
Chan Soveth, senior investigator for rights group Adhoc, said numerous workers were injured in the clashes and there had been reports that journalists and activists on the scene were injured as well.
“Authorities ordered armed forces in to break down the protests,” he said. Garment workers have been striking for more than a week over a recent minimum wage boost they say is insufficient.
Unions and workers have been pushing for a doubling of the current US$80 a month minimum, a wage that factory owners say is untenable.
The government this week said it would give a $20 a month raise starting in February. Kong Athit, vice-president of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said the clash came as police moved in to crack down on workers blocking a national road, and was meant as a form of “intimidation” to halt strikes.
Following a meeting between six of the nation’s largest independent unions this morning, Athit said that strikes would continue indefinitely unless the government held a new round of negotiations.