Citizens in Vietnam are protesting in Saigon, Hanoi and other cities for the second Sunday over a marine environmental disaster in the central provinces. Scuffles again broke out with police according to reports on Twitter and other social media sites. Dozens of people have been detained after a sit in in Hanoi.
Protests last Sunday May 1 drew thousands of people across the country who were angered after a massive fish-kill covering hundreds of kilometers of coastline, which citizens blame on pollution released by a steel mill in Ha Tinh province.
In the last week two reporters were arrested while attempting to report on the issue. Chu Manh Son, a reporter with the local Catholic news service Good News for the Poor was arrested while filming protests against the Formosa steel mill, and Truong Minh Tam, a citizen journalist with the Vietnam Path Movement civil-society group was arrested and detained while attempting to interview people in the affected region.
As the government tried to suppress protests by arresting and beating journalists and activists at home, the protests began to get international attention. Rallies were held by Vietnamese communities in the United States and Australia on May 7 and 8 respectively.
Police in Vietnam yesterday began to station themselves outside the homes of prominent activists to prevent them going out to join the rallies. Vietnam’s Human Rights Defenders are reporting that the police brutally suppressed the peaceful protests using teargas, and that hundreds of people have been arrested and detained.