Vietnam's legislature puts demonstration bill on next year agenda

By Bao Cam, Thanh Nien News

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In this picture taken on May 14, 2014, protesters holding Vietnamese flags attempt to push down the front gate of a factory in the southern province of Dong Nai, as anti-China demonstrations on May 15 spread to 22 Vietnamese provinces. Photo: AFP In this picture taken on May 14, 2014, protesters holding Vietnamese flags attempt to push down the front gate of a factory in the southern province of Dong Nai, as anti-China demonstrations on May 15 spread to 22 Vietnamese provinces. Photo: AFP

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In the wake of riots that erupted out of recent anti-China rallies, Vietnam's legislature decided to vote on the country’s first-ever bill regulating public demonstrations next year, earlier than planned.
At a meeting on Friday, 85.14 percent of 436 lawmakers agreed on next year’s lawmaking program under which the demonstration bill will be discussed at a mid-year session and be voted on at a year-end session.
According to a government plan announced in February, the bill, which is being drafted by the Ministry of Public Security, will be submitted to the National Assembly -- Vietnam's legislature -- between 2016 and 2020.
Since China deployed its oil rig into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continent shelf off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands on May 1, Vietnamese have held many peaceful rallies around the country.
However, several of the protests erupted into violent rioting and looting that resulted in the vandalism of hundreds of foreign-owned factories and offices in Ho Chi Minh City, the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong, and the north-central province of Ha Tinh.
A brawl between Vietnamese and Chinese workers in Ha Tinh left four Chinese workers dead and 149 others, both Vietnamese and Chinese, injured.
Vietnamese authorities have so far arrested more than 1,000 people for their roles in the riots. Two have got jail sentences of up to three years and dozens of others are awaiting trials.

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