DEMONSTRATIONS TURN BLOODY!
ON SATURDAY 10 APRIL 2004 MORE THAN 150,000
MONTAGNARDS TOOK TI TE TO THE STREETS OF VIETNAM'S CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
TO BEGIN A SERIES OF NONVIOLENT DEMONSTRATION OF PUBLIC PRAYER
AGAINST THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT’S DENIAL OF THEIR FREEDOM TO
WORSHIP THEIR RELIGION.
As soon as the gatherings started the Vietnamese
police and special forces intervened what follows is a developing
story compiled with information received via mobile phones by Mr. Kok
Ksor, President of the U.S.-based Montagnard Foundation and member of
the General Council of the Transnational Radical Party.
On Saturday 10 April some 150,000 Degars went to the city of
Buonmathuot in Vietnam's Central Highlands for a peaceful
demonstration. After only a few hours, Vietnamese soldiers, mixed
with the police and Vietnamese civilians attacked the crowd beating
demonstrators with electric batons, throwing rocks, and shooting with
rifles. Dozens of demonstrators have been reported dead and many have
their legs and hands broken. There are reports of people being
decapitated. The latest news put at around 200 the number of dead
bodies left in the city and in the surrounding coffee plantations.
In the district of Ayunpa, some 100,000 people reached the major city
from every direction. When the first demonstration started, some of
them were beaten by the police and soldiers, who after a while had to
desist as they were outnumbered by the crowd.
It is still not clear how many people participated in the
demonstrations in Plei ku city as the communication was soon lost,
thousands of people were expected to show up. The same will happen in
Kontum city and Dalat city.
In the city of Phuoc Long the total was around 20,000; many of the
demonstrators got hurt. In the district of Cu Jut there were 3,000
people, who participated in the demonstration, around 100 of them
have been reported dead because of beating from soldiers and
Vietnamese civilians. In the district of Dak Mil there 2,500 people
demonstrated. But there are no figures on casualties.
Latest reports estimates at around 400 people the number of dead in a
place called Pham Chu Trinh. There is the possibility that a massa
exodus may start soon towards the bordering Cambodian jungle.
On Friday April 9, the Montagnards appealed on those countries that
recognize freedom of religion TO request access to THE CENTRAL
HIGHLANDS and to monitor the situation, also with satellites, TO
PROTECT THEIR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS.
A reaction of the international community is now more urgent then
ever. The list of places can be used to compile satellite
photographic evidence of what happened.