Sunday May 5th, 2013: Young Vietnamese activists organized for the first time Human Rights picnics to share documents on and discuss about human rights.
The day before, before May 5th, Trinh Kim Kim and Paolo Thanh Nguyen led a group to discuss the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in front of their house to start off the event. The discussion went well, with photos and videos posted on their blogs and YouTube. But the actual picnics that were going to take place in public parks in Hanoi, Saigon, Hai Phong and Nha Trang got repressed, at times violently, by public security forces.
In Hanoi, the picnic went well. Bloggers could gather in a small group, holding signs that read: "Freedom of association is citizens' right" and copies of the UDHR.
In Nha Trang, Blogger Me Nam (Nguyen Nhu Quynh) and her friends stayed in a coffee shop to discuss the UDHR. Public authorities had stopped them from joining the picnic outdoor.
In Hai Phong, local public security forces did not let people coming to former political prisoner Pham Thanh Nghien’s house to join a rights discussion. Nghien and her mother still started the discussion in their back yard.
In Saigon, early in the morning, bloggers got together to distribute copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a public park. Soon after that, public security agents violently dispersed the group and arrested some of them, including Hoang Vi, Vu Quoc Anh & Vu Sy Hoang. The bloggers were reportedly violently beaten at police commissariats.
By 10 pm local time, Hoang Vi continued to be held in custory at Phu Thanh ward police commissariat. Her family and fellow activists are gathering there to demand for her release and for her property to be returned.
As some young activists commented on their blogs: they could not understand why the public authorities have to mobilized that many agents and efforts to repress what activists considered to be normal and legitimate, such as a casual picnic to have a good time and talk about their rights.
Note that Vietnam is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
More detailed information (in Vietnamese), images and videos on Dan Lam Bao blog: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com/2013/05/tuong-thuat-buoi-da-ngoai-thao-luan.html#.UYZ-0CvF3f8
©2013 The 88 Project