At least seven people were injured and seven arrested in the Cambodian capital on Friday morning after clashes between striking garment workers and riot police, local rights monitors said.
Huy Pichsovann, programme officer at the Community Legal Education Centre, said police hit marching workers with batons. In videos of the altercation, strikers can be seen throwing stones at police.
Following the clash, thousands of workers led by two of Cambodia’s biggest unions moved to block roads in front of the Ministry of Labour, according to Solidarity Centre programme officer Khun Tharo.
Tens of thousands of striking workers have held marches and protests this week following the announcement of a minimum wage rise on Tuesday that did not satisfy their demands. Unions, workers and the political opposition had been pushing for salaries to be doubled to 160 US dollars, but they received only a 15-dollar initial raise, to 95 dollars.
Fearing further violence, the Garment Manufacturers Association has urged factories to shut down while the government and unions hold emergency talks later Friday.
The strikes threaten to cripple the country’s multi-billion-dollar garment export industry.