As the Nguyen Hue Flower Street, an annual event in celebration of Tet (Lunar New Year) in Ho Chi Minh City, closed on Wednesday night, many people jostled to take the flower pots home, claiming they were aiding the cleaning effort, instead of looting the street.
The flower street, opening on January 25, showcased a wide variety of floral plants and a number of flower-based installations and decorations, with most of the flowers loaded on garbage trucks for disposal following the event’s closing.
At 9:00 pm, security officers blocked the entrances to the venue, the Nguyen Hue promenade in District 1, allowing sanitary workers to start their job.
Despite this, many young people crossed the barricades to enter the street, picking up some flower pots before fleeing.
Some others approached the cleaners and asked to take the flowers when the plants were about to be put onto the garbage trucks.
When stopped by security guards, some of the ‘flower grabbers’ said: “We are intellectuals who love flowers so we want to take some pots home, instead of seeing them thrown away in the landfills.”
People who asked to take the flowers asserted that they were not looters, comparing themselves to those who rushed to grab the flowers and hurriedly left the venue.
One security guard tried to explain to them that these flowers were grown for the flower street so they would soon wither.
“These flowers are not so valuable that we would stop you from bringing them home,” he said.
“But think about this: outsiders will take a dim view of the self-respect of our city-dwellers when they see this looting-like scene.”
According to VnExpress, some 300 sanitary workers were deployed to work through midnight to ‘restore’ the Nguyen Hue promenade by Thursday morning.
A security guard stops a woman from 'stealing' the flowers.
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