By The Huong Le
Hanoi, Vietnam, May 4, 2016
In Vietnam, a scandal surrounding the mass die-off of fish has created an explosive wave of debate and activism on social media, particularly Facebook. Responding to the social media outcry, many rallied in cities across Vietnam on Sunday, during a national four-day holiday. The rallies took place at an unprecedented scale, spanning three regions.
The protests responded to the mass deaths of fish, a crisis that has been ravaging Vietnam’s four central-coast provinces since early April. The environmental disaster has killed thousands of fish and caused financial and environmental damages to fishermen and people living in what was already one of the country’s most vulnerable regions. The cause is unconfirmed as yet, but many Vietnamese suspect pollution from a steel plant operated by a subsidiary of Formosa Plastics Group.
In Hanoi, hundreds gathered near the Hanoi Opera House, holding signs that said: “Fish need clean water, people need transparency” and“Formosa, stop poisoning the sea.” The Ho Chi Minh City rally reportedly drew thousands, with clashes between police and demonstrators captured on Facebook.
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