Vietnam slams rioters, pledges to protect foreign investors

By T.Hang, Thanh Nien News

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Police arrest a rioter at the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 1 in Binh Duong Province on May 13. PHOTO COURTESY OF TUOI TRE
The Vietnam General Confederation of Labor condemned the rioters who ransacked a number of industrial parks in Southern Vietnam on Wednesday after chaos erupted out of peaceful protests against China's recent incursion into Vietnamese waters. 
The agency has asked labor federations in cities and provinces nationwide to instruct workers on holding peaceful demonstrations while at the same time obeying the law and avoiding public disorder.
Chairman Dang Ngoc Tung said the VGCL has sent a working team to Binh Duong Province, where rioters looted, burned and vandalized the factories and offices of hundreds of foreign-invested companies over the last two days.
The team will work with Binh Duong authorities to establish control over the situation and raise awareness about the organization of peaceful protests.
“More than ever before, the employees of foreign-invested firms should focus entirely on their work rather than flooding the streets to protest or damage factories,” Tung said. “That's the best way to show your patriotism."
Tung stressed that Vietnamese workers must not protest against Chinese investors and enterprises because they are contributing to the Vietnamese economy.
Also on Wednesday, Tran Van Nam, vice chairman of Binh Duong Province People’s Committee, told Tuoi Tre that the province is making every effort to protect the property of foreign-invested firms.
Vice Chairman Nam explained that a number of hooligans, who weren't employed in the industrial parks, infiltrated a peaceful demonstration held by workers on Tuesday and incited the workers to riot.
He affirmed that the majority of workers in Binh Duong do not want to cause disorder.
“We believe there is an organized gang that incited workers to cause disorder, and provincial police are working with Ministry of Public Security’s police to investigate the gang.
“The inciters allegedly wanted to create instability in the investment environment, because the hooligans didn't just damage the property of Chinese-invested companies but also Japanese and South Korean ones.”
By Wednesday, Binh Duong police had arrested 599 hooligans, including 191 inciters who they said may face criminal charges.
Nam told Tuoi Tre that the provincial authorities will take measures to protect the property of foreign companies.
The province is calculating the damages that rioters caused to the companies, he said, adding that it may offer them compensation.
“We will seek the government’s opinion on that matter,” he said.
Nam promised that Binh Duong will act in good faith “at the highest level” to restore the confidence of foreign investors in the province.
“We appreciate the contributions that foreign investors have made to Binh Duong in recent years and we hope they will bear with us in this difficult time,” he said.
Around 6,000 workers initially gathered in peaceful protest of China’s deployment of a giant oil rig in Vietnam's territorial waters on Tuesday in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 1 (VSIP 1) in Thuan An Township.
However, order broke down when the number swelled to about 20,000.
A number of hooligans incited workers to destroy company property. Some took advantage of the chaos to loot, commit arson and assault security guards.

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