PHNOM PENH— At least one protester died and five more were injured after a Cambodian garment workers protest turned violent on Tuesday. In the aftermath of the demonstration, about 30 protesters and monks were arrested.
About 1,000 factory workers clashed with riot police whilst trying to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen's house to demand higher wages and bonus payments.
The protesters, mostly women, were stopped by police, who fired water cannons at them as protestors threw rocks in return.
At one point, the protesters hijacked a police truck and set it on fire after flipping it over.
Police retaliated with tear gas, and later fired live rounds.
The workers earn a minimum wage of $80 USD per month and are demanding a raise to $150 USD.
A number of protests have been held since August 8, but so far no agreement has been reached.
The deputy president of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers' Democratic Union, Bun Noeun, said many of the workers are faced with difficulties without any help from the government.
“Three of our female workers were fired from the factory and they had to stay in the pagoda because they do not have money to pay for their rental house,” he said.
The workers also called on the government to sack a manager whom they accused of standing in the way of a resolution.
The factory where the protesters work employs about 6,000. Its clients include major international brands.
The garment industry is Cambodia's third-largest currency earner behind agriculture and tourism. Reports previously indicated that the country exported garments, textiles and shoes worth about $2.3 billion last year, down from $2.9 billion in 2008. More than half goes to the United States.