08/03/2016, 11.45
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Nghi Thiet fishermen protest new port: Police beat them

About 700 workers clashed with plainclothes officers who blocked the streets of the city. New facility under construction for past two months and prevents fishing nearby. The government gives insufficient compensation to fishermen.

Hanoi (AsiaNews / RFA) - The Vietnamese police forcibly broke up a demonstration by fishermen in the village of Nghi Thiet (Nghe An province) and beat some protesters. Several protesters were hospitalized and officers did not even spare the elderly.

The protests, which began last July 30, are against the construction of a new port that would favor one of the largest cement companies in Vietnam. The fishermen - whose livelihood is made impossible by cargo ships - demand compensation which authorities do not want to concede.

100 plainclothes police officers blocked some streets of the city with fire trucks and ambulances. About 700 fishermen then braved the police who started beating the demonstrators.

Nguyen Viet Nong, a 64 year old man, was a victim of the clashes. The elderly man had to go and buy medicines, but the road was blocked by police. After trying to pass, Nguyen was landed with a kick from an agent and said: "All the others began to trample me".

According to local media, the construction of the port began May 19 last and was approved by the province in 2015. At full capacity the port will allow the transport of 4 million tons of cement per year. The port can accommodate vessels carrying up to 70 thousand tons.

A fisherman said that the villagers were opposed to the project in November 2015, and had refused offers of economic compensation from authorities ranging from 120 to 1,900 dollars per vessel (depending on size). The workers, who are now unable to fish, consider that the figures are too low: "When the money they give us finishes what we will do? How can they help us find a new job? Where will we live?".

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