PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Assaults against two Cambodian lawmakers by an angry mob on Monday has led to condemnations and a request from Human Rights Watch for an investigation.
The attacks took place outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh by protesters critical of the opposition party's deputy leader, Kem Sokha, Radio Free Asia reported.
But the protests turned violent when more than 1,000 pro-ruling party demonstrators circled the parliament building and pulled in two opposition lawmakers, Kong Sophea and Nhay Chamreoun.
Kong Sophea said protesters dragged him from his car and then proceeded to punch and kick him, causing injuries to his nose, head and waist.
"Demonstrators walked toward my car, and when my driver slowed down, they dragged me out and attacked me," he said, adding that the attackers were police or military personnel, who stole his wallet, $300 in cash, cellphone and bank card. Kong Sophea said traffic police did not intervene as the crime took place.
Nhay Chamreoun was beaten unconscious and suffered injuries to his arm, jaw and nose.
Human Rights Watch condemned the attacks and said the government of Hun Sen should invite the United Nations human rights office to investigate the attacks.
According to the NGO, witnesses had said members of the prime minister's Bodyguard Unit Headquarters were participants, and they had showed up in civilian dress. They had arrived on their distinctive red Bodyguard motorcycles, and other witnesses said members of the Phnom Penh Municipal police, including regular and para-police were present.
Human Rights Watch said ruling party-supported vigilantes have worked in civilian attire since January 2014 and have dogged opposition parliamentarians since Kem Sokha said Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party would lose the next national election in 2018.
A CPP spokesman told RFA that the party did not organize the protesters.
"The demonstrators held a nonviolent demonstration, but the opportunists provoked a chaotic situation," he said.