Search

 

Cablegate: Fresh Demonstrations in the Central Highlands

VZCZCXRO0486
RR RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHHM #0406/01 1080952
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170952Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4367
INFO RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 2998
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0005
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 4590

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 000406

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIRF PHUM PGOV VM
SUBJECT: FRESH DEMONSTRATIONS IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS

HO CHI MIN 00000406 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary. Post is receiving reports of demonstrations
in parts of the Central Highlands, beginning on April 11.
Participants are largely ethnic minorities, including Degar
Protestants, who are reportedly demanding better land-
expropriation and compensation policies, more appropriate
government zoning plans, and religious freedom and independence
for ethnic minorities. Sources report various, sometimes
conflicting, numbers of demonstrators. Although official media
has been silent so far, a Government of Vietnam (GVN) contact
confirmed the demonstrations. Reports of GVN reactions, troop
deployments and arrests are vague and imprecise and have not yet
been independently confirmed as the situation unfolds. Post
continues to track the situation. End Summary.

Numbers and Locations
---------------------

2. (SBU) Although various contacts report differing numbers of
demonstrators, it appears that the groups are made up of between
40 and 100 ethnic-minority protestors each. Several reliable
contacts confirmed reports that these groups staged
demonstrations in five villages in Plei Sung Kat, Ia Kla (Duc Co
District), Ia Le (Chu Se district), Dakre village (Chu Pah
district), Tam Hai village in Daklak from April 11, 12 and 13.
The demonstrators appeared to be mostly women and children. One
contact said that the demonstrations were slowly spreading south
to Dak Lak province, and making the GVN's response to the
situation "more complicated." Our contacts dismissed Montagnard
Foundation Inc. (U.S.-based advocacy organization) claims that
there had been up to 7,000 protestors as "not accurate."

Land disputes fuel the protests?
-------------------------------

3. (SBU) Reports suggest that the demonstrators gathered and
went to the communal people's committees and police stations to
ask for better land compensation, more transparent
land-expropriation and zoning policies, and, according to some
sources, religious freedom and the establishment of a Degar
"republic". However, reports from post contacts differ as to
whether land disputes initially ignited the protests, and
whether the issues of an "independent Degar state" and religious
freedom were involved. Contacts in the Protestant house church
community shared that several demonstrators were Protestants
"who call themselves Degar Protestants," but did not so far
include any followers from any of the recognized and registering
denominations in the Central Highlands.

4. (SBU) Mr. Tran Viet Hung, GVN Chief of Staff of the Central
Highlands Development Committee (an advisory agency to the
central GVN on Central Highlands economic, social and securities
policies) confirmed that demonstrations took place but dismissed
them as "not of significant scale." Mr. Hung pointed out that
the demonstrators were upset because they "lacked accurate
information on GVN land policies," and that they peacefully
returned home after listening to explanations from the proper
authorities.

Arrests and troop deployments
-----------------------------

5. (SBU) One source reported that plainclothes policemen and
soldiers were monitoring ongoing protests in each village, but
did not act openly. The same source reported that the GVN
deployed two divisions to the Central Highlands and the Ministry
of Public Security has asked Major General Nong Van Luu to
return to Gia Lai to calm the situation. Other contacts either
do not have information or refute reports that "divisions of
troops" are being moved into the Central Highlands to crack down
on the protests. There is general agreement, however, that at
least four people have been detained, reasons unknown. Mr. Hung
from the Central Highlands Committee also implied that necessary
actions to maintain order had been taken towards those
"instigators that received instructions from elements in foreign
countries via cell phones." Names of the detainees remain to be
confirmed.

6. (SBU) Comment: Post is reaching out to contacts in this
remote area of central Vietnam, as well as seeking additional
information on those detained. However, details will be hard to
come by and it will be some time before a clearer picture of the
situation emerges. The mention by several sources of
demonstrators receiving instructions from "overseas" will fuel
the suspicions of some in the GVN that those outside Vietnam,
particularly from the United States, are attempting to interfere
in domestic affairs and to instigate civil unrest. While
sources differed on the specific issue that sparked the
demonstrations, the protests can be seen a sign of general

HO CHI MIN 00000406 002.2 OF 002


discontent over GVN policies in the Central Highlands, rather
than a direct challenge to GVN authority. However, post is
concerned about reports of troops being deployed to the area and
will follow events as they unfold. End comment.
FAIRFAX

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC