(VNRN) – A video by a blogger who was present when the police forcefully moved in on protesting farmers and peasants in a land-grab case in Hanoi has been published on YouTube, giving the world a first-hand look at the brutality behind the expropriation. Another video, made by a protestor before she was arrested, was also published.
In the first video, made by a blogger who writes under the name Gió Lang Thang, police and other personnel wearing a red armband can be seen rushing the protestors, pushing, beating, and arresting them, as they enforce the expropriation order imposed on the farmers of Duong Noi (Dương Nội), Hanoi.
The video shows some initial resistance by the protestors, but they were soon overwhelmed. Instead, what follows are numerous scenes of police and men with red armband punching, pushing, kicking, beating the victims.
For example, at 0:09, a government man used a stick to beat a hapless man trying to protect himself using a plastic bike helmet. At 0:32, a man appeared already down but 3 men with red armbands continued to beat and kick him. At 0:58, a man in civilian clothing, red T shirt and yellow helmet, wearing a red armband appeared to be in charge as he pushed a woman to the ground while the police led her away. At 1:40, a man tried to hold on to his bag of belongings but it was wrested away and the man lost his property as he was arrested.
Throughout the video, a cameraman and a photographer who appeared to work with police authorization calmly recorded the situation.
The second video, reported made by Can Thi Theu (Cấn Thị Thêu), was taped from a high vantage point as the police moved in below. Several beatings already seen in the first video can be seen in this video as well and with a wider angle. The man in charge in red T shirt and yellow helmet, for example, can be seen at 0:58 where he was wrestling many other peasants to the ground, before pushing the woman seen in the first video.
The videos bring to life the level of violence that accompanies the confiscation of farmers’ land, something human rights activists have reported many times.
Duong Noi is a rural village in the suburbs of Hanoi. Until 2008, it was part of Ha Dong, a separate province that was then merged into Hanoi.
Since that time, the local government in Duong Noi, now a ward in the Ha Dong district of Hanoi, has approved 9 development projects that required mass expropriation of land. Farmers claim the government approved these projects without adequate consultation with local citizens as required by law, and without adequate compensation for their land, the only way for them to make a living.
Each of these projects affect several hundred families. The attack on Apr 25 was to clear the way for a project that affects more than 300 peasant families and their farms. The peasants have been staging protests, refusing the leave their land.
In March, two Duong Noi protestors were arrested, and then the police told their families the two had committed suicide. However, to date their bodies had not been released and the families have not received any official notification.