Phnom Penh, April 22 (IANS) Police in Cambodias capital Phnom Penh are wielding canes and batons to threaten and beat people who violate the citys lockdown rules.
Thursday marked a week of lockdown measures in Phnom Penh, a city of more than 2 million., dpa news agency reported
Introduced to curb an accelerating coronavirus outbreak linked to more than 6,000 infections and 54 deaths, the rules have been revised several times, deepening public confusion about what is permitted.
Nevertheless, the government has arrested hundreds of people for violations, while at least six have already been sentenced to one-year prison terms.
Authorities on Monday designated three red zones where people are banned from leaving their homes, except for emergencies.
The government said it would deliver food to the areas, home to almost 50,000 families. Many are low on supplies and have taken to social media to appeal for help.
Police officers, however, have shown little tolerance for people outside.
One video circulated on the official Facebook account of a district authority in Phnom Penh, showed two officers on a motorbike patrolling the streets with a cane.
The weapon is held by the pillion rider, who uses it to threaten and smack pedestrians.
Another clip shows an officer striking a man as he walks in front of Cambodia's Council of Ministers building.
A police spokesperson, who spoke to local outlet Voice of Democracy, defended using force against people who "don't listen".
However, Interior Minister Sar Kheng released a statement saying frontline officers must "avoid using any form of violence" in undertaking their duties.
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