HANOI, April 10 Vietnam's government said on
Monday it would prosecute protesters who last week blocked the
country's main highway, taking a tougher stance against a string
of protests over the country's worst environmental disaster.
About 100 people blocked Highway 1A a week ago with fishing
nets, bricks and stones, holding up thousands of vehicles, the
government said in a statement. It said those identified would
be prosecuted for "causing public disorder".
The protest at the town of Ky Anh was against the steel mill
being built by Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Corp's
Vietnam unit. The $11 billion Ha Tinh plant last year
accidentally spilled toxic waste that polluted more than 200 km
(125 miles) of coast, sparking a wave of protests not seen
during four decades of Communist Party rule.
Activists fear the mill could soon resume operations after
the environment ministry announced the facility had met the
necessary conditions to start test runs.
"Although Ky Anh authorities asked the crowd to disperse,
some people swore, insulted officials and threw stones at the
forces," said the government in a statement, adding that the
police were investigating those involved.
Authorities warned it would enforce tough measures against
any future gatherings in the area, the government said.
Those found guilty could face fines, government re-education
programmes or jail terms.
On Saturday, the government uploaded a video confession by
Nguyen Van Hoa, a blogger prosecuted for publishing contents
that the government said were against the state and the ruling
party. In the video, he apologised and asked for forgiveness for
selling his conscience and his country.
(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Randy