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Vietnam army cracks down on minorities after protests
AFP ^ | 2004-04-12

Posted on 04/12/2004 12:21:22 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

Security forces were patrolling yesterday in Vietnam's Central Highlands a day after police and troops dispersed hundreds of Montagnard ethnic minority marchers.

According to numerous political and police sources in Dak Lak province, hundreds of demonstrators took the streets in "violent protests" in the province's capital Buon Ma Thuot before being dispersed Saturday.

"The streets were quite messy yesterday. Now, the situation is normal. But security forces are everywhere," one witness in Buon Ma Thuoat told AFP.

Three years ago around 20,000 Montagnards in the Central Highlands protested over long-term confiscation of their land for use by ethnic Vietnamese or Kinh settlers and a crackdown on their evangelical Protestant faith.

Saturday's demonstrations came after the U.S.-based Montagnard Foundation (MFI) said people in the region would start a week-long non-violent demonstration of public prayer to press for religious freedom.

Official denial

However an official from Dak Lak's People's Committee said: "There is nothing to worry about. Everything is under control. No one demonstrates." A police officer and a city dweller contacted by AFP also said the city was quiet.

A doctor in Dak Lak province general hospital said the hospital had received around 40 injured policemen and soldiers Saturday, most of them attacked with stones and sticks, but added none was in critical condition.

A police officer said Saturday that some protesters who attacked police had been arrested.

The MFI accuses Hanoi's communist regime of persecuting ethnic and religious minorities in the country. Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also expressed concerns.

"All we want is to live as indigenous peoples on our ancestral lands without fear of persecution," MFI president Kok Ksor said in a statement.

International concern

But the government regularly rejects the allegations as "slanderous reports" and accuses the MFI of channelling money from U.S.-based Montagnard exiles who fought alongside U.S. troops during the Vietnam War to separatist groups and creating disorder.

A U.S. embassy spokesman in Hanoi said that American officers trying to reach Buon Ma Thuot on Saturday from Ho Chi Minh City by car were stopped in Binh Phuoc province by the police.

"They were told the area was not suitable for foreigners and had to turn round," he said.

Vietnam's ministry of foreign affairs has not been available for comment.

State media regularly praise Hanoi's efforts on poverty reduction and education policies to improve the lot of the indigenous population.

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: communism; montagnards; vietnam

1 posted on 04/12/2004 12:21:23 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
I dream of the day we go back there, liberate Vietnam for good, and raise the flag again on the American embassy in Saigon.
2 posted on 04/12/2004 12:46:47 PM PDT by rogueleader
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: Tailgunner Joe
Some good groups:

Sane the Montaganards

Vets with a Mission

Montanard Foundation

There is another group that I cannot find the link. They are a Vets group who have been going into the western Central Highlands with medical supplies for several years. They are a damn fine group. I will try to find the link. They deserve our help.

4 posted on 04/12/2004 12:51:33 PM PDT by Khurkris (Ranger On...)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
This is also the richest coffee growing region of Vietnam. That business is increasingly lucrative. In an economy where property rights are still the prerogative of the Communist Party, appeals to Christianity convey a more noble seeming counterweight. Though as valid as those might be, I rather suspect money is the ultimate issue in this contnuing struggle.
5 posted on 04/12/2004 12:52:09 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: Tailgunner Joe
6 posted on 04/12/2004 12:55:55 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: onedoug
Follow the money.
7 posted on 04/12/2004 12:56:48 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Another tribute to the DemocRAT "Peacemakers"!
8 posted on 04/12/2004 1:06:06 PM PDT by Redleg Duke (Stir the pot...don't let anything settle to the bottom where the lawyers can feed off of it!)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
This situation has many layers. Most 'Yards now are Christian, ok, they mix it in with their old beliefs, but they are learning about and accepting Jesus Christ and His teachings. Also, Kok Ksor is a person who has rallied the 'Yards in VN and has given a face to their plight on the world stage.
Here are excerts from a story from last year:

Kok Ksor and the Montagnards sided with the U.S. in the Vietnam War. Kok Ksor is a Montagnard who escaped from Saigon the day before it fell and has lived in the U.S. since 1975. He heads the South Carolina-based Montagnard Foundation that advocates for Montagnard rights in Vietnam.

Kok Ksor's 18-year-old niece, H'Ngon, was among those the Cambodians forcefully turned over to Vietnamese authorities. They then took her to an undisclosed location where she was repeatedly raped over three days and nights as retaliation for her uncle being a political activist in the USA, though she, herself, had done "nothing." She continues to suffer trauma from the horror.

When Kok Ksor's 80-year-old mother, H'ble Ksor, refused to read a document denouncing her son over Vietnamese TV in May 2001, security forces beat her, breaking three ribs, and threatened to kill her, even though she "never did anything to criticize the Vietnamese government," according to the Montagnard Foundation. She now suffers pain from her injuries, but is forbidden to leave her village to seek medical help.

Similarly, on Friday, January 31, Vietnamese authorities tortured and executed Y-Su Nie with lethal injection. He was arrested last November for being a Christian and land-rights advocate, though no specific words or actions have been cited. In Buonmathout Prison he was tortured by beatings and electric shock and forced to publicly denounce Kok Ksor and Christians before other Montagnard villagers, even though he apparently was never tried in an open court or found guilty of anything.

They handcuffed him on January 30 and told him he "would soon die, but because the Vietnamese government is merciful, we will allow you to see your family one last time." Then they injected him with a lethal poison and released him. When he reached his family, he cried and told them, "The government let me come to see you for a few moments before I die; the police have already injected my body with poison."

He died the next evening, even though he, also, apparently had done "nothing."

This is what is happening in the Highlands.

Link to article.

9 posted on 04/12/2004 1:39:25 PM PDT by Khurkris (Ranger On...Always comb your hair and smile for the camera!)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

Freeper Alert: Sen. KERRY / Communist Vietnamese Killing Off Christians in Central Highlands...

10 posted on 04/12/2004 2:03:10 PM PDT by ALOHA RONNIE (Vet-Battle of IA DRANG-1965
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To: Redleg Duke
After hearing this news, Ted Kennedy condemmed the
protesters, saying this would lead to another Vietnam. lol
11 posted on 04/12/2004 3:37:08 PM PDT by Adam36
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To: Adam36
If he ever sobered up enough to read, you would probably be right!
12 posted on 04/13/2004 6:20:04 AM PDT by Redleg Duke (Stir the pot...don't let anything settle to the bottom where the lawyers can feed off of it!)
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