Vietnam Seeks Probe of Formosa-Protesting Farmers, Accusing Them of Causing Public Disorder

By Defend the Defenders, March 19, 2017

On March 8, the Police Investigation Unit in Ky Anh district, Ha Tinh province decided to initiate criminal proceedings against about 300 residents of the Yen Du parish who participated in a street protest against the polluting Formosa steel plant on the same day.

The farmers could face the charge of “causing public disorder” under Article 245 of the Penal Code. District authorities threatened the farmers with arrest, unless they present themselves to the police and admit their guilt.

In response to this threat, Du Yen parish confirmed that about 2,000 people participated in the march and that all of them were ready to face detention. They said nearly all residents of the parish went to National Road No. 1 to protest the Taiwanese plant for causing an environmental disaster that has seriously affected their livelihoods.

The protestors threw fish on the road and blocked it for hours.

Meanwhile, Catholic priest Dang Huu Nam and followers of the Phu Yen parish, Quynh Luu district vow to continue to seek to launch a lawsuit against Formosa before the Ky Anh district People’s Court.

On March 14, Father Nam and many followers in the parish were brutally attacked by Nghe An’s police as they were on their way to the neighboring province to challenge the polluter for discharging a huge volume of toxic industrial waste into Vietnam’s waters and causing massive deaths of fisheries in the central coastal region from Nghe An to Thua Thien-Hue.

However, only fishermen from Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue will be compensated by Formosa, which pledged to pay $500 million in reparations to the affected fishermen.