Riot police beat and arrested protesters who marched through the capital Monday demanding the ouster of Cambodian leader Hun Sen. Hours later, an opposition leader announced new talks that could end the political crisis.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh said talks mediated by a Thai official had made unexpected progress, and the three main parties have agreed to a "summit" presided over by King Norodom Sihanouk."I make an appeal again to all pro-democracy demonstrators not to make any more demonstrations and to wait for the meeting," Ranariddh said.

The unrest comes only 10 days before the National Assembly resulting from disputed elections July 26 meets for the first time. The opposition threatens to deny Hun Sen the two-thirds majority needed to form a government.

Earlier Monday, club-swinging riot police confronted opposition supporters in the capital, Phnom Penh.

Hundreds of riot police deployed on several streets, bottling up the protesters, who scattered in fear. Several demonstrators were grabbed and beaten, but - unlike previous days - the police did not immediately resort to gunfire.

Police hunted down and arrested any protesters trying to regroup. Human rights workers said 17 people had been arrested. It was not known how many were injured.