U.S.-based reactionary group behind mass fish death rallies in Saigon: police

By Kien Tuong   May 14, 2016 | 04:44 pm PT
Police in Ho Chi Minh City have concluded that the mass protests that broke out in the city center on May 1 and May 8 were incited by Viet Tan, an exile reactionary organization based in the United States.

Viet Tan has taken advantage of the mystery mass fish deaths along the central coast to incite gatherings of thousands of people in a plot to start political riots. The group set up support teams who prepared water and bread and paid participants at the gatherings, while the ringleaders were in charge of carrying banners and shouting slogans, the police said.

According to the municipal police, Viet Tan also incited people under 18 and convicted criminals to take part in the protests. A 17-year-old homeless man in Saigon, who has two criminal convictions, is considered the most violent antagonist. Some participants at the rally on May 8 used pepper spray to attack the authorities. After the rallies, they even used online forums to look for the addresses of police and other authorities in charge of security at the events to take their revenge. Some members of a youth organization in the city have since been beaten at their homes for fulfilling their duty.

The reactionary group’s real agenda is to disrupt the upcoming elections through a large-scale riot, the police said. They added that they have obtained Viet Tan’s plans to incite more rallies on May 15 and May 22.

Vietnam is scheduled to hold elections to select new members of the National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2016-2021 tenure on May 22 this year.

Many people gathered near the Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral in District 1 on the last two Sundays. They wore shirts featuring fish and carried environmental protection banners as they marched through the streets downtown. Some of the thousands of people that took part in the riots turned violent, injuring four members of a youth organization in charge of keeping order and security.

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