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Protester miscarries after Cambodia police crackdown: group

Published: 02-Jul-13 08:30AM

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Cambodian people from Boeung Kak lakeside community clash with police and security guards at a park near Prime Minister Hun Sen's house in Phnom Penh. Source: AFP


PHNOM PENH (AFP) -- A Cambodian woman miscarried Monday after police beat her and another pregnant protester during a crackdown on a land rally in the capital, a local rights group said.

The 33-year-old woman, who was 10 weeks' pregnant, miscarried after being hit during a "heavy crackdown", the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) said in a statement.

She was among around 100 people who blocked the road outside a municipal building in central Phnom Penh, in the second protest of its kind to be broken up with violence.

Police initially tried to drag the protesters from the road but they resisted, prompting officers to beat them, an eyewitness told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The pregnant women were kicked and beaten," Ny Chakrya, of ADHOC, told AFP, adding they were taken to hospital where the miscarriage was confirmed.

In the statement his group said the crackdown "seriously violated the law and human rights".

Phnom Penh's police chief declined to comment about the alleged incident when contacted by AFP.
The protesters -- from Phnom Penh's lakeside area -- are demanding more compensation or the return of land given by the government to a Chinese company for a commercial development.

In May three people from the same group of demonstrators were knocked unconscious after police fired water jets at them during a rally at the same location.

The land belonged to the government and was handed to the Chinese firm, which has so far left it unused.

The dispute is the latest in a series of high-profile cases of alleged forced evictions and land grabs by powerful interests.

Activists say land conflicts are Cambodia's most pressing human rights issue and protests have intensified since last year.

Forced evictions across the country have displaced thousands of families and prompted protests and violent clashes between residents and armed security forces.

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