Hanoi (dpa) – At least 20 policemen were injured with knives and acid as violence erupted during efforts to evict a family from a farm in southern Vietnam for a dike project, authorities said Wednesday.
The clash occurred on Tuesday outside of Ho Chi Minh City at Thanh An commune, said Nguyen Van Tao, chairman of the local district.
Two officers were stabbed and 18 others were burned by acid, Thanh Hoa district police said. Family members told local media they were victims of police brutality.
Nguyen Van Thuy, chief of police of Thanh An village, was among the most seriously injured with acid burns to his back, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported. Eight people were detained by police.
Before the clash, the family used social media to swear they were ready to die to protect their land.
“Down with communists! Down with communists robbing people’s property!” they said in a video clip posted on the Dan Luan website, which follows land disputes between farmers and authorities.
An image included a banner that said: “Our family is ready to die to prevent the communist gang from robbing our land on April 14, 2015. We are ready to shed our blood to warn 90 million Vietnamese about the catastrophe of the communist party.”
The website quoted family member Phung Thi Ly as saying authorities offered only 14 dollars per square meter as compensation for her family’s land, but they charged her family nearly 1,200 dollars per square metre for nearby land.
“We have complained everywhere, but no one resolves it, from Thanh Hoa district court to Long An province’s one,” said Ly, who was among those arrested Tuesday.
Ly’s sister was quoted in social media accusing of police of having brutally beat members of the family.
Property seizures for development projects have sparked controversy. Villagers have fought authorities with knives, petrol bombs and acid. Under Vietnamese law, all land is controlled by the government and typically allocated through long-term leases.
In 2012, farmer Doan Van Vuon was hailed in social media as “national hero” while resisting provincial authorities in the northern city of Hai Phong.
The incident received widespread notice when he and his family used homemade guns and landmines to resist the officials who tried to bulldoze his home.
Vuon’s challenge of provincial authorities near Haiphong even prompted a review of the case by the prime minister, who faulted provincial authorities for using heavy-handed tactics.