3 protestors shot by police with rubber bullets in southern Vietnam

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Police in a commune in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long Thursday shot with rubber bullets and injured three women who were trying to stop construction of a local road in protest against their lands being taken over for the purpose.

Speaking to Thanh Nien the same day, Truong Van Lot, People's Committee chairman of My Hoa Commune in Binh Minh District, said the police were forced to shoot because the protesters, mainly women, attacked them even after they had fired warning shots.

The police had also used tear gas and seized gasoline, knives and iron tubes from the protestors.

One officer was injured.

The protestors belonged to four of 14 families who refused to donate part of their lands for the road from the commune to a nearby canal.

Compensation was not paid because it was a welfare work done by the government together with the commune residents. It is set to cost around VND15 billion (US$713,600), he said.

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The work continued despite the protest because 276 out of the 290 families affected by the project agreed to donate land for it, he said.

The commune had paid compensation to just four families since they had to give up 50 percent of their lands, he added.

Nguyen Van Dung, a spokesman for the district administration, said My Hoa authorities and have been ordered to "quickly" resolve the problem.

In the meantime work on the road would be suspended, he said, adding, however, that locals would be persuaded to donate land for the project to go ahead.

The shooting is being investigated.

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