PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Riot police clashed with protesters in the nation’s capital on Sunday, shooting one to death and wounding six more, opposition activists said, in a new wave of demonstrations against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government following a disputed July election.
The demonstrations in Phnom Penh, which also left one policeman injured, marked one of the biggest challenges yet against the autocratic rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for nearly three decades.
They also raised fears even bloodier days could be ahead, with opposition leader Sam Rainsy vowing to keep up the pressure until the post-election deadlock is resolved.
Although the government allowed Sunday’s rally to go ahead, it had warned protesters to stay within the confines of the capital’s Freedom Park, where tens of thousands of people had gathered peacefully earlier to hear Rainsy speak.
Thousands of opposition supporters marched across parts of the city anyway. Police mostly let them go ahead.
The marches turned violent in the afternoon when about 200 demonstrators tried to dismantle a barricade of razor wire and roadblocks that had been erected to keep them away from the Royal Palace. Police fired water cannons and then smoke grenades, and demonstrators responded with rocks, shoes, and other objects.
One policeman was hit in the head with a small iron bar.
In a separate incident late Sunday, police fired more smoke bombs to disperse protesters who had tried to remove another barricade at a downtown overpass that heads toward the opposition’s headquarters, witnesses said. Security forces then fired into the crowd, killing one person.