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Young Vietnamese turn violent, involved in stampedes at northern festivals (photos)

Wednesday, March 04, 2015, 15:40 GMT+7

A number of agitated youths left springtime festivals in northern Vietnam injured and frustrated after they were entangled in brawls on Tuesday.

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A two-day festival called “Phet Hien Quan,” which took place almost 80 kilometers from Hanoi in Tam Nong District in Phu Tho Province, closed yesterday amid hassles and fights between young people.

The festival is organized annually to pay tribute to a female general who lived around the first century.

During the festival’s second day, six “phet,” which are made from ornately decorated bamboo roots, and three smaller balls were tossed among the throng of fest goers.

It is traditionally believed that those who manage to snatch away the “phet” will be showered with good luck and blessings during the rest of the lunar year.

Hundreds of fest goers, mostly youths, scrambled and thronged around the holes where the “phet” would be thrown into.

As soon as the “phet” were tossed around, flocks of young people began shoving one another, swearing and even climbing on top of one another in a desperate attempt to get their hands on the lucky object, which is almost the size of an adult’s fist.

Hundreds of young men are seen thronging where "phet" (the luck token ball) was buried. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A "chui" (a luck item which is smaller than the "phet") is shown being tossed as groups of young men shove one another to snatch away the object. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A young man is pictured climbing atop the crowd to approach the luck items. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A brawl broke out between groups of scrambling youngsters yesterday. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Police were deployed to ensure the festival’s security on Tuesday. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A man in a brown shirt is shown trying his best to protect his "phet" (luck token ball), which he was hiding beneath his shirt, from aggressive “snatchers.” Photo: Tuoi Tre

A young man looks worn out after giving the luck object scramble his best shot. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A man is pictured lying exhausted on the sand after escaping from the agitated crowd. Photo: Tuoi Tre

In a similar vein, mayhem also erupted on Tuesday, the second day of the Phu Son Bullfighting Festival in the northern province of Bac Ninh, as flocks of reckless spectators poured into the bullfighting rings for a better view.  The event, the first to be held in the locality, drew roughly 30,000 spectators, many of whom stood and sat dangerously on the fences around the rings.

Except for the champion bull, all the other contestants were slaughtered at the arena and their meat was sold at high prices to festival goers.

Young men are shown climbing over fences at the Phu Son Bullfighting Festival in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Overexcited spectators stand on metal frames and scaffolds for a better view of the bullfights. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A maelstrom also exploded at the Giong Temple Festival, run annually in Hanoi’s outlying district of Soc Son, last week.

Groups of outraged local youths beat each other with clubs after failing to snatch away the offering items from a palanquin procession, which is traditionally believed to bring good luck in the new year.

Some youths also wielded knives at such festivals. One young man was even killed during a scuffle at one of last year’s springtime festivals.

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