Police forces throw rocks and fire bullets at Song Ngoc Parish protestors as they march to file a lawsuit against Formosa

~ Translated report by Catholic organization Tin Mừng cho Người Nghèo (Good news for the Poor GNsP). ~ 14/02/2017

The Communist authorities dispatched security forces, including traffic police, riot police, and plainclothes officers, to impede, block, harass, beat, throw rocks and fire bullets at Song Ngoc parishioners causing many to be admitted to the hospital with injuries on 14/17/2017

Many independent journalists and contractors associated with Tin Mung cho Nguoi Ngheo media group, alongside many others, were arrested and taken to the police station in Dien Chau district, Nghe An.

Events occurred as more than 1000 parishioners from Song Ngoc parish (Vinh diocese which includes Quynh Ngoc, Son Hai, and Quynh Tho communes) marched to file a lawsuit against Formosa in Ky Anh township Ha Tinh province. The march was guided by Fr. Nguyen Dinh Thuc of Song Ngoc.

A trusted source reported that a Ha Tinh provincial official came to the Vinh Bishop’s office in an effort to obstruct the lawsuit, however the Bishop’s perspective was that the people’s demands were just and ought to be supported.

The Nghe An authorities announced that they would block the protestors from filing the lawsuit, and would not accept allow Song Ngoc residents to enter into Nghe An province.

They also pressured the transportation companies, all of which were hired beforehand, to prevent the parishioners from filing the lawsuit against Formosa. Because of this, the Song Ngoc Parish Priest decided that the parish would go by foot and motorbike.

The marchers displayed the five colored flag [Vietnamese imperial flag] to express their pride in traditional Vietnamese national culture. They also wore shirts with the sentence “The people want live fish, Formosa get out” [1], and wore rosaries in order to avoid agent provocateurs infiltrating the protest and causing disturbances along the march.

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Along National Highway 1A, the Vinh diocese parishioners were joined by ordinary citizens who lent support in the form of water, snacks, and inspiration. The warmth and love shown raised the parishioners’ spirits, causing many to shed tears of joy.

The parishioners rested and demonstrated at Quynh Giang town. Their primary message to countrymen domestically and abroad was to “Help us sue Formosa” and to together with one spirit rise up and protect our people’s homeland against both internal and external enemies.

Many elderly people were among the group, with one old woman carrying three loaves of bread among those walking to demand justice. She wrapped them like rations because she knew that this would not be a day trip.

The group then rested at Yen Ly parish in Vinh diocese to eat lunch. Buckets of rice and food were prepared beforehand on the parish campus. They split in small groups and ate lunch beside their shepherds.

At Dien Chau, the Nghe An authorities dispatched riot police, traffic police, and even hired thugs, in large groups to surround the parishioners. They gave the order to capture and repress the group, throwing rocks and firing rounds into the crowd. Many youth, elderly, journalists, and GNsP employees were injured, including Fr. Thuc, who was struck by a police officer and bleeding from his mouth.

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At first the officers encircling functioned as protectors of the people, but now they mistreated them. Fr. Thuc denounced the police officers who strong armed and beat him and the parishioners, for which the police stole his phone and destroyed it.

Many plainclothes officers hid behind facemasks and infiltrated the protest to film, split the people, and cause violence.

When confronted with this situation, parishioners prayed to the Virgin Mary asking for protection from evil.

At this time the parishioners are resting at Dong Thap parish, Dien Hong commune, Dien Chau district, Nghe An province. Many parishes in Vinh diocese lit candles in prayer for the well-being of those going to sue Formosa in the face of arrest and oppression. Lifting up their misery, and the Vietnamese people’s thirst for human dignity, to the Virgin and the Lord.

More than a 1000 people from Song Ngoc Parish went to demand human dignity and were oppressed, pelted with rocks and shot at by the authorities, causing many injuries. This is clear evidence that the communist authorities were never “of the people, by the people, and for the people” as they say in their deceptive propaganda. Showing again that they arrogantly challenge global public opinion, despise human life, and live to protect and serve the forces intent on stealing the country and harming the people; most exemplary of which is Formosa, who has admitted crimes against the environment, life, and livelihood of the Central Region’s residents. Regimes not by and for the people will sooner or later disappear.

GNsP Journalist Group writing from Nghe An

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[1] Dân Muốn Cá Sống or DMCS which is also the acronym for Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản which means Mother Fucking Communists

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