Six villagers were arrested and one was left critically injured Thursday after authorities fired on a protest against the forcible eviction of residents from land in southwest Cambodia’s Sihanoukville province, in the country’s first violent police crackdown since a July election widely seen as unfree and unfair.
Villagers clashed with police armed with assault rifles and shields who tried to evict them using tactics they described as “brutal and unacceptable,” following a Supreme Court decision to grant their land in Sihanoukville’s Prey Nob district as a concession to a wealthy businessman.
One villager, who spoke with RFA’s Khmer Service on condition of anonymity, said police beat residents who gathered early on Thursday morning and erected barricades of burning tires to ward off any attempt to remove them from the land, in protest of the court decision.
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