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Protesters Arrested at Cambodia Footwear Factory Riot

Ten garment workers were arrested and dozens injured, including nine police officers, in Cambodia on Saturday after factory workers protesting for better wages and working conditions set a factory gate on fire and threw stones at police. According to Cambodia Daily, the disruption took place at the Taiwanese-owned Juhui footwear factory in the Cheung Prey district of the Kampong Cham providence, where 5,000 workers have been on strike since Sept. 1.

Workers have accused the factory of terminating their contracts for joining protests. However, the factory said the workers abandoned their jobs and ignored a court injunction ordering them to cease demonstrations and return to work. The factory rehired 3,000 of the employees, but the remaining 2,000 claim they are blacklisted due to their affiliation with the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU).

The rally got underway when about 1,000 of those fired employees gathered at the factory to demand their job back, Cambodia Daily reported. Tensions were heightened when Juhui’s administrative director Teng Sambath posted a list of more than 70 new hires selected to work and when police attempted to confiscate the protesters’ microphone.

A CCAWDU representative at the factory told Cambodia Daily about 100 riot police and an equal number of Juhui security guards pushed workers back from the building on. Both sides began to throw stones and rocks.

Saturday’s riot was the second incident to take place in a month at the factory. Three weeks ago about 2,000 workers forced their way into the Juhui factory and began to attack managers.