Six Cambodian politicians charged with insurrection after clashes
Associated Press in Phnom Penh
Six Cambodian opposition politicians were charged yesterday with leading an insurrection movement after a clash with security forces who prevented their followers from rallying in a park.
Lawyers and rights activists said six leading members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party - including five members of parliament - appeared in court to be charged with leading an insurrection movement, incitement to commit a felony and instigation to commit acts of violence.
At least three others not present were facing the same charges, they said.
The maximum penalty if convicted on all charges would be 30 years in prison.
The government said at least 38 neighbourhood security personnel were injured in Tuesday's brawling, with 22 in critical condition and three in intensive care.
The guards are civilians used by the authorities to break up protests, and have a reputation for brutality. They are usually armed with clubs and other homemade weapons.
Authorities banned public demonstrations and closed the park in January after protests.
"A handful of the CNRP's leaders who had a premeditated plot and led its ultra-supporters, who were armed with batons and other deadly tools, brutally attacked the local security personnel in an attempt to create (a) chaotic situation," the government statement said.
Opposition party leaders said the guards initiated Tuesday's violence, which came two weeks before the anniversary of a disputed general election last year that led to a bitter political deadlock.