Hundreds of Vietnamese people held the second weekly anti-China rally in Hanoi and Saigon on Sunday despite the government’s intimidation against some activists. Last weekend, some activists such as Ms. Bùi Thị Minh Hằng, Kim Tiến, and Huỳnh Thục Vy, who were under constant police surveillance and were prevented to join the demonstrations. Ms. Huỳnh Thục Vy succeeded to join the demonstration in Saigon and were subsequently was arrested at the rally and detained for a few days.
The rally in Hanoi started around 8:45 am and ended at 10;50 am as people spontaneously gathered and the crowd swelled up to about 1,000 people heading toward the Chinese embassy. The security forces blocked the demonstration when it came within 300 feet of the Chinese embassy. The crowd was chanting and waving banners “Hoang Sa (Paracel)-Truong Sa (Spratly) belong to Vietnam.”
Today the rally attracted all walks of the Vietnamese society such as
- Ms. Lê Hiền Đức, 80, laureate of 2007 Integrity Award by Transparency International
- Dr. Phạm Hồng Sơn, lawyer Lê Quốc Quân, Prof. Ngô Đức Thọ.
- Handicap advocate Nguyễn Công Hùng, who was born deformed and recognized for his achievement in the IT field by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2010.
- Forcefully evicted farmers from Văn Giang and Dươuong Nội.
Saigon attracted a much smaller crowd of 100 people due to the heavy rain that people decided to go home.
As Ms. Bùi Thị Minh Hằng was prevented from joining the rally, she joined the protest in spirit by protesting at home and posting a video clip online.
The fact that the protest was allowed to go ahead in authoritarian Vietnam indicates how relations between Hanoi and Beijing have deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks. The Vietnamese patriots protest against Chinese aggression in East Sea with the establishment of Sansha city and China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s call for bids to explore for oil in the Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The patriots want also to pressure Vietnam’s government to take a stronger stand to protect the national territorial integrity. The patriots support the new Maritime Law of Vietnam, which was passed last month by Vietnam’s National Assembly reaffirming the Vietnamese sovereignty on Paracel and Spratly islands.
As the rally concluded without incidents, the protesters gave rendez-vous with each other for the next rally on the Sunday. Last year, Vietnamese patriots held 11 weekly rally before the authorities clamped down the protests.