Farmers involved in a land dispute in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi freed 15 riot police Tuesday held in the aftermath of a clash with authorities over the weekend and said they are preparing to release around 20 additional local officials, according to state media.
On the morning of April 15, police clashed with residents of Dong Tam commune, in Hanoi’s My Duc district, who say the government is seizing 47 hectares (116 acres) of their farmland for the military-run Viettel Group—the country’s largest mobile phone operator—without compensating them.
Police arrested four farmers for allegedly causing social unrest, and other farmers responded by detaining as many as 38 police officers and local officials, and threatening to kill them if security personnel attack again. Some of the farmers who were arrested have since been released.
The official Tuoi Tre newspaper cited deputy director of the Hanoi police department Bach Thanh Dinh as saying that as of Tuesday afternoon, 15 police officers had been freed by the villagers, while three others managed to escape by themselves.
Twenty people are still being held in Dong Tam and should be released as soon as possible, Dinh said, adding that authorities had made no compromises with the farmers and those responsible for detaining the police officers and local officials would be dealt with according to the law.
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Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.
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