Thousands of workers rally to protest China’s oil rig in Vietnamese waters

Thousands of workers in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Duong joined a rally on Tuesday to condemn China over the illegal operation of its oil rig in Vietnam’s waters, local authorities said.

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During the protest, demonstrators raised national flags and banners that read “Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa (Spratlys) belong to Vietnam,” and “Oppose China’s illegal oil rig deployment in Vietnam’s waters.”

They also shouted chants demanding that China remove the rig from Vietnamese waters immediately. 

The protesters marched along many streets and industrial parks such as Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 1 (VSIP 1), Viet Huong Industrial Park, Song Than 1 Industrial Park, and some other industrial clusters in the province.

The rally received special attention and support from local residents. However, taking advantage of the busy atmosphere surrounding the march, some people illegally rushed into office buildings at the VSIP 1 and Viet Huong IP, breaking glass doors and smashing valuable items.

While talking with Tuoi Tre on Tuesday, Le Thanh Cung, chairman of the Binh Duong Province People’s Committee, said that the local government respected the demonstration that showed the workers’ patriotism in response to China’s infringement of Vietnam’s waters.

However, the authorities will coordinate with the Ministry of Public Security to strictly punish those who took advantage of the rally to smash windows, steal assets, or commit other lawbreaking acts, Cung insisted.

Local authorities have called on people to strictly comply with laws while conducting such demonstrations, and will take measures to ensure safety and property for investors at provincial industrial parks, the province’s leader said.

Over the past several days, many peaceful protest marches have been organized in many other localities across the country, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang City, Hue City, and Can Tho City.

Overseas Vietnamese in many countries around the world, including Germany, France, Japan, the Czech Republic, Australia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, and Cambodia have also taken to the streets to strongly oppose China’s violation of Vietnamese waters and demand that it remove the rig from the waters at once.

The Chinese rig is now located at 15°29’58’’ North latitude and 111°12’06’’ East longitude in the East Vietnam Sea, within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This location is about 119 nautical miles (221 km) from Ly Son Island off the central Vietnamese province of Quang Ngai and 18 nautical miles south of Tri Ton Island of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

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