Cambodian police have forced anti-government protesters from their rally camp in the capital, Phnom Penh, and banned any further protests against the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Hundreds of security personnel armed with batons and shields moved in on the camp in the capital city's Freedom Park on Saturday, causing hundreds of protesters to flee.
Phnom Penh's municipal governor issued a statement banning the use of the park and marches through the city's streets, citing security reasons. The statement cast doubt on whether a three-day protest, scheduled to begin Sunday, would go ahead.
The raid on the park came a day after police opened fire on striking garment workers, killing at least four people.
Witnesses say security forces fired assault rifles at protesters in Phnom Penh as they blocked a road and hurled stones at police. A local human rights group said more than 20 were wounded and at least 10 people were arrested outside the Yak Jin factory near the city. The group condemned the violence and the deployment of an elite unit of soldiers (Special Command Unit 911).
Nuth Romduol of the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party and an elected member of parliament told VOA's Khmer service that the soldiers were the aggressors.
But Chap Sophorn, the commander of the paramilitary unit, said his troops only responded after protesters began throwing rocks at them.
Prime Minister Hun Sen faces a growing challenge to his 28-year rule from garment workers demanding higher pay and opposition forces demanding that he step down and call a new election because of alleged vote fraud in a July poll.
A worker throws a gas bomb after clashes broke out during a protest in Phnom Penh, Jan. 3, 2014.
A worker carrying a metal rod reacts after clashes broke out during a protest in Phnom Penh, Jan. 3, 2014.
Workers are detained by riot police officers after clashes broke out during a protest in Phnom Penh, Jan. 3, 2014.
An injured garment worker is helped by his colleagues after clashes broke out during a protest in Phnom Penh, Jan. 3, 2014.
Garment workers hold gas bombs duing clashes with police in Phnom Penh, Jan. 3, 2014.
Cambodian garment workers run as they escape for safety in front of a factory of Yak Jin in Kambol village on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.
Police with riot gear gather near striking garment workers in Phnom Penh, Jan. 2, 2014. (VOA Khmer)
Striking garment workers are seen in front of police in Phnom Penh, Jan. 2, 2014. (VOA Khmer)
A striking garment worker gestures in Phnom Penh, Jan. 2, 2014. (VOA Khmer)