Weekly Protests Shutdown By Communist Government; U.S. Calls For Release Of Detainees

The Vietnamese government has decided to put the weekly protests in Hanoi to a stop.  After 10 weeks of Sunday protests, the Communist Party has finally lost its nerve.  As the people in Vietnam prepared for their anti-China demonstration at Hoan Kiem Lake, a large group of both uniformed and plain-clothed police officers were already there waiting for them.  The policemen rounded up the protestors just as they were about to begin their patriotic chants, shoving many of them into a large bus that had pulled up to the scene.  At least 47 demonstrators were detained as a result, thus signifying that the Communist Party will no longer tolerate peaceful protests in the name of the country.

Prior to the arrests on Sunday, the Communist government in Vietnam had made a public order warning all the participants to stop with the weekly demonstrations.  Despite the prohibition announcement, protestors continued to gather at the lake of Hoan Kiem to rally against China’s expansionism in the Southeast Asia Sea.  That was then that the Communist Party felt it necessary to stop the protests for good.  They have become uneasy and wary of the people’s ongoing activism, fearing that it may turn into a revolutionary force that put their power in jeopardy.  As a result, the protests have been stopped for the week, though it is still unclear what will happen next Sunday.

The United States has called for the release of the detainees who took part in the protests, citing basic human rights and freedoms should be respected.  Since the arrests on Sunday, 39 of those detained have been released, though several are still held for investigation.  The U.S. and Vietnam have strengthened their relations greatly in the last few years, organizing conferences, visits, and military exercises.  However, Vietnam’s flagrant violations of human rights and freedoms continue to put a strain on this relationship.  The U.S. sees much potential in Vietnam, the strengthening of U.S.-Vietnam relations can bring many benefits to Vietnam, but this can only take place when Vietnam finally respects the basic rights and freedoms that the people deserve.

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