A Cambodian human rights group says authorities have detained five women who were trying to petition the French Embassy for help in freeing anti-government activists arrested last week.

According to the local rights group LICADHO and the family of one of the women, the five were picked up plainclothes police on their way Monday to the embassy.

The women were seeking help for 23 people who were recently arrested in connection with labor and political protests. Police shot dead at least four people Friday at a labor rally, and opposition leaders have been summoned in court to answer accusations of incident social unrest.

The detained women are veteran protesters against land-grabbing in Phnom Penh's Boueng Kak lake area, where residents were evicted for an upmarket residential and commercial complex.