Some Vietnamese citizens have weighed in on recent protests taking place in Ho Chi Minh City, stating that such actions would not help rectify any situation but make it more complicated.
Rallies were staged on May 1 and 8 in some locations in the southern city, demanding that competent authorities provide an explanation for the mass fish deaths in central provinces since early April.
According to the municipal Department of Police, many people were manipulated and talked into being a part of the rallies incited by a U.S.-based terrorist organization named ‘Viet Tan’ (Vietnam Reform), which aimed at stirring up civil disorder on the occasion of the national election on May 22.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters have interviewed several members of the public to gather their points of view on the current situation.
According to Doan Tran Vinh, a lecturer at Nong Lam (Agriculture-Forestry) University in Ho Chi Minh City, it is legitimate for citizens to be concerned about the mass fish deaths.
Vinh added that people are now paying more attention to the environment and major social issues.
However, carrying out such protests does not actually put any situation right, but it will cause unnecessary social disorder, which would in turn affect the lives of locals and allow hostile forces to negatively influence citizens’ daily activities and normal social development, Vinh said.
Scientifically speaking, identifying the cause of the fish kill requires careful examinations in all aspects.
Similar incidents have happened in other countries, the lecturer stated, adding that it took scientists there months, or even years, to unravel the mysteries.
Instead of rallying, which complicates the situation, Vinh suggested that citizens focus on practical actions to protect the environment, namely saving energy and keeping public hygiene.
According to the academic, local residents can express their requests, wishes, or dissatisfaction with competent authorities through the press, or officials who are representatives of the public, including members of the People’s Council and the lawmaking National Assembly.
Sharing a similar opinion, Nguyen Duy Lam, a lecturer at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education, stated that protesting would not help expedite the process of figuring out the reason behind the mysterious mass fish deaths.
People could cooperate with competent agencies to help with their investigation, depending on personal ability, which will possibly provide a faster and more comprehensive answer, Lam added.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Tuc, an official of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, recommended that citizens should express their concern in a calm manner and keep things in perspective, adding that haste would not solve any problem.
Joining demonstrations at this critical time would negatively impact the coming election as well as the lives of other people, Tuc said, adding that protesters themselves could also be harmed when the situation went out of control.
Nguyen Thi Be, a street vendor who sells drinks in front of the Youth Culture House in District 1, said that the rallies taking place on May 1 and 8 forced her to stop selling her wares during the two days.
“As many people took to the streets, blockades were placed on many routes. I also had to cease my business the entire days, causing me to lose about VND200,000 [US$9] while I have to provide for six people in my family,” Be stated.
Nguyen Thi Thao, a Hanoi resident, said that she would not join such protests to express her discontent, as it would not help discover the cause while potentially affecting the production of local fishers.
According to Tran Quoc Bang, another resident in the capital city, as the nation is preparing for an important political event, all citizens should have practical contributions for it to be a successful election.