Protests Over Environmental Justice in Vietnam Continue Despite Police Threat

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Protests have been continuing in central provinces over the mass poisoning of fish earlier this year, despite an ominous warning from police about the role of “subversives” in the environmental movement.

Rallies took place in towns near the affected coastline on Sunday, with protesters demanding full accountability from the government.

Protesters called for the immediate closure of the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel plant, which admitted last month that its release of toxic chemicals caused the death of millions of fish.

Activists say they want to see evidence that the $500 million compensation promised by the company will be distributed fairly and that the company will be fully held to account.

Catholic parishioners in Vinh took to the streets to demand action over Formosa

The rallies were held despite allegations from the police chief of Nghe An province that Viet Tan, the Vietnam reform party headquartered in the United States, was behind the environmental movement.

The communist authorities continue to denounce the group as a terrorist organisation even though it has repeatedly stated its commitment to peaceful protest and change.

Officials have in the past sought to intimidate government critics and civil society activists by accusing them of affiliation with a banned organisation, membership of which can lead to long prison terms.

The police chief, Colonel Nguyen Huu Cau, said that Viet Tan had taken advantage of the environmental catastrophe by inciting protests.

He said the Communist party and the state had conducted an aggressive investigation and had uncovered documentation to prove Viet Tan’s role.

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