Vietnamese Women for Human Rights’ Statement regarding the suppression of the march on April 26th, 2015

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A group of 11 women demonstrators wearing the traditional long dress (ao dai) also walked toward the Memorial but they had moved only about 25m to a spot near Thuy Ta restaurant when they were surrounded by police who wanted to isolate them from other groups.

By 09:40, 9 among these 11 women were arrested – including Ms. Tran Thi Nga and Tran Thi Ha who are members of VNWHR’s Board of Directors. Wearing only the delicate ao dai dresses, these two women were roughly manhandled by police and civil guards who shoved into police vehicles and took them to Long Bien police station.

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VNWHR | Apr 26, 2015

To Whom This May Concern,

Recently Hanoi authorities ordered the felling of 6,700 valuable mature trees to be replaced with saplings with much less value.

The public opinion is that Hanoi government did so because they wanted to share the spoils from the tree felling operation, as they could no longer profit from the usual corruption sources when the economy is in serious decline.

Hanoi people have staged many demonstrations to protest against the government’s unaccountable act and demanded transparency in its decision- making process.

Like many demonstrations in the previous Sundays, on April 26th 2015, about 100 Hanoians marched around the shore of Sword Lake for protesting.

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The march began at 9 am near the fountain on the lakeshore. Hundreds of plain-clothed and uniformed police together with civil guards were deployed to prevent the demonstrators from moving toward King Ly Thai To Memorial.

A group of 11 women demonstrators wearing the traditional long dress (ao dai) also walked toward the Memorial but they had moved only about 25m to a spot near Thuy Ta restaurant when they were surrounded by police who wanted to isolate them from other groups.

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By 09:40, 9 among these 11 women were arrested – including Ms. Tran Thi Nga and Tran Thi Ha who are members of VNWHR’s Board of Directors. Wearing only the delicate ao dai dresses, these two women were roughly manhandled by police and civil guards who shoved into police vehicles and took them to Long Bien police station.

After many hours of interrogation by police, the women were released one by one from 14 pm to 16 pm.

This was a peaceful march. The women wore fine clothes and behaved impeccably, but the police have shown savage behaviours toward them. Many women lost their footwear and had their clothes torn when police pushed them around.

The VNWHR, with its mission being to protect the human rights and dignity of women who are victims of government’s oppression, strongly condemned the shameful actions conducted by the Vietnamese government.

We call on the government to stop the suppression of peaceful demonstrations by tree-loving and transparency-demanding citizens.

As there will be many more demonstrations in the coming days, we call on ASEAN civil society organisations to watch our activities and support our people.

 

Yours sincerely,

Board of Directors