Vietnam PM asks lawmakers to agree on demonstration law

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung Friday urged the National Assembly to consider a law on demonstrations one of the bills to be drafted during its term, saying such a law would guarantee people's freedom.

He said the law would also help prevent actions that affect security as well as the benefits of society and people.

A demonstration law is " in accordance with the Constitution and the country's historical and cultural characteristics," Dung said.

In response to lawmakers' questions about the reasons for the government to draft the bill, the PM said the Constitution already stipulates that people have a right to demonstrate in accordance with laws, but so far, there was no law on holding demonstrations in Vietnam.

Another reason is that in reality many gatherings have taken place with people hoping to express their wishes and opinions, but in the absence of the law, it's difficult for authorities to handle such cases, Dung said.

This will probably lead to disorder, allowing bad elements to incite people, causing harm to the society, he added.

Dung said, in fact, the government had once issued the decree to control such gatherings, but its legal impact was still low and yet to meet the Constitution's demand.

Asked about the government's viewpoint on recent gatherings to protest foreign acts violating Vietnam's sovereignty in the East Sea, Dung said that the government always appreciates activities that stem from true patriotism and for the cause of protecting the national sovereignty.

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However, any activities aimed at causing harm to the country and society in the name of patriotism will be punished strictly, he said.

Last week the bill on demonstration sparked controversy among lawmakers. Some found it unnecessary and said it risked the country's security, while others agreed with the government, saying it was a basic right of citizens.

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