In Vietnam’s latest crackdown on dissent, police have arrested an activist who organized a protest against a polluting steel plant, saying he instigated demonstrators to attack and injure several police officers.
A statement on the Web site of Nghe An provincial police in central Vietnam said 34-year-old Hoang Duc Binh was taken into custody on Monday for allegedly “abusing democratic rights to infringe on the interests of the state, the rights and legitimate interests of organizations and citizens,” and opposing officers on duty.
Police said his alleged incitement of protesters at a local government office last month caused public disorder.
The protest was among several in recent months over massive fish deaths last year in four central provinces that were caused by the release of pollutants from a steel complex owned by a unit of Formosa Plastics Group (FPG), Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp.
The incident, Vietnam’s worst environmental disaster, has devastated fishing communities and tourism. Formosa has been fined US$500 million.
The provincial government said in a statement that after Binh’s arrest, hundreds of protesters on Monday used logs, stones and bricks to disrupt traffic on Highway 1, the nation’s main north-south road.
It blamed a Catholic priest, Nguyen Dinh Thuc, of instigating the protest to demand Binh’s release. Thuc has not been arrested, but the government said his “repeated law violations must be condemned and be seriously dealt with in accordance with the law.”
Last week, police in Ha Tinh issued a warrant for activist Bach Hong Quyen for allegedly disturbing public disorder.
Also on Monday, the Standing Committee of Vietnam’s National Assembly accepted the resignation of Vo Kim Cu as a deputy of the assembly for his role in the Formosa disaster when he served as party chief and chairman of the people’s committee of Ha Tinh Province, where the plant is located, the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable