A woman from Boeung Kak Lake community is stopped by local security guards during a protest near the Phnom Penh Municipality Court Friday. Pic: AP.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Almost two dozen Cambodian factory workers and rights activists have gone on trial in connection with labor protests earlier this year that rocked Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

Several hundred police on Friday blocked the street in front of the court where the 23 defendants face charges of instigating violence and damage to property. About 300 supporters gathered nearby to call for charges to be dropped.

Authorities broke up the January protests calling for a higher minimum wage, leaving at least four people dead.

The protests nettled the government, already facing pressure from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party. It refused to take its seats in parliament and accused the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of rigging last July’s general election.