Vietnamese officials held hostage over detention of protesters

By Pham Linh   April 21, 2018 | 09:29 am GMT+7

14 were detained by police while protesting a power project that they believed was killing forest.

About 500 people in the central province of Binh Dinh have taken five officials hostage to demand the release of a group of protesters the police had detained on Wednesday.

The big crowd was seen surrounding the My Tho commune office in Phu My District, with the officials locked inside, who were given food and drink.

People in Binh Dinh gather around a commune office on Friday to protest a wind power project. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh

People in Binh Dinh gather around a commune office on Friday to protest a wind power project. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh

Locals said they have been occupying the building to protest against a wind power project in the commune and demand the release of 14 people the police had detained.

They said that a forest designated to house the project's wind turbines was recently burned down, raising fears that the project would damage the environment.

A forest in Binh Dinh has been burned down and locals believe that a wind power project is the culprit. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh

A forest in Binh Dinh has been burned down and locals believe that a wind power project is the culprit. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh

Nguyen Van Dung, chairman of Phu My District, dismissed the allegations. Dung said the forest fire was caused by locals burning trash.

Dung said those held hostage are three police officers, the commune's chairman and chief of the commune's Party unit.

Colonel Nguyen An Ninh, deputy director of Binh Dinh police, confirmed they had detained 14 people for "causing public disorder" and "resisting persons on duty" at the protest on Wednesday.

The protest was fueled by concerns after a titanium mining project destroyed a forest in a nearby commune.

 
 
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