Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Villagers riot in land dispute

Hundreds of villagers in Lai Yen commune of Ha Tay province burned down a local government building Tuesday (Jan. 25), in a dispute over land compensation. The crowd of mostly women and children used petrol to burn down the People's Commune building, along with the documents it stored. The villagers also threatened to kidnap commune officials if they were not better compensated for the land they had given up for the building of an industrial zone.

In a separate incident over another land dispute, a farmer burned himself to death last Saturday in a village in Ha Nam province, about 60 km. south of Hanoi. The body of 46-year-old Duong Minh was found in a graveyard of Bach Xa village, Hoang Dong commune, of the province, two days after he and other villagers were called to the police station and asked to pay $10 each for attempting last November to block the construction of an industrial park. In 2003, local authorities had appropriated 838,000 square meters of cultivation land in the area for the construction of an industrial park. The farmers who lost their land were compensated at $1.08 per square meter, which they felt was much too little. (Deutsche Presse Agentur, Jan. 28).


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