Police launch investigation into protests against new port

By Lam Son   October 24, 2023 | 06:55 am PT
Police launch investigation into protests against new port
People of Hai Ha Commune, Thanh Hoa Province gather to protest a port project, Oct. 23, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Nghi Son
Police have launched a criminal investigation into a protest by 300 people against the construction of a container port in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa.

Nghi Son Commune police launched a criminal investigation into members of the local community on Monday for "disrupting public order" in Hai Ha Commune.

Authorities said around 300 people, mostly women and children, gathered at a construction site for the Long Son Container Port that day, carrying with them banners and placards and shouting in protest.

The group of people walked from provincial road 513 in Hai Ha through Hai Thuong and Hai Yen communes.

The police said the march caused traffic congestion for over a kilometer, "disrupting public order" from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

For the past several days, especially from Oct. 18 to 23, people from Hai Ha Commune have been gathering at the construction site and the headquarters of the communal People’s Committee to protest the project.

The protesters say the project will negatively affect local fisheries and take up areas where local boats usually dock to conduct their trade.

The Thanh Hoa Standing Party Committee had previously instructed a special team to inform and persuade the people of the project’s benefits.

Authorities said 132 families in Hai Ha Commune are against construction of the port.

Over 40 families have pledged and signed agreements not to obstruct construction, while 90 families have made the pledge without signing any agreement. Twenty-seven families have refused to cooperate.

The Long Son Container Port project is expected to cost over VND750 billion ($30.54 million) and go into operation in 2025. As part of the Nghi Son Economic Area, its water surface area is planned to span around 15 ha. The project’s main investor is Lang Son Company.

Mai Sy Lan, vice chairman of the Nghi Son Town People’s Committee, said on Tuesday that the port was a major project for Thanh Hoa. He said it would provide important marine infrastructure not just for the Nghi Son economic area, but also for the rest of Thanh Hoa and other regions in north-central Vietnam.

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