Hanoi Residents Protest Confiscation of Their Homes For New Parking Lot

District authorities make the plan part of a larger, previously announced project to enlarge area roads,

Residents of Hanoi's La Thanh Dyke road display a banner protesting district plans to seize their homes, June 5, 2018.

More than 20 residents of a road built near a dyke in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi turned out on Tuesday to protest local authorities’ planned confiscation of their homes to make way for a new parking lot and a park, local sources said.

The plan, carried out under cover of a larger scheme to enlarge area roads, will evict residents from 139 odd-numbered houses built along one side of the La Thanh Dyke road in Hanoi’s Dong Da District, one resident told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on June 6.

“We have longed for the Beltway No. 1 project to be completed, but this has still not been done, and [these evictions] were never part of the original plan,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There are already a park and parking lots nearby,” the source said. “They don’t need to build any more.”

Householders targeted by the district for eviction had not been notified of the plan, and learned they would have to move only when maps showing the areas to be cleared were posted in the neighborhood last year, RFA’s source said, adding that residents’ petitions to Hanoi city authorities for help have so far been ignored.

“Local authorities should base their project plans on the original documents,” the source said.

“They should abide by the law instead of ignoring area residents and sending misleading reports to higher authorities so they can just do whatever they want.”

Also speaking to RFA, a woman living in the neighborhood said that men wearing red armbands had harassed and assaulted area residents during earlier protests.

“Once, they dragged one of our residents away, and we had to protect another person from them,” the woman said.

“They should be able to do these things only under official authority,” she said. “They can’t arrest us just because they’re wearing armbands.”

On May 19, Hanoi mayor Nguyen Duc Chung promised to meet with area residents in 10 days to discuss their concerns, but never showed, sources said.

Another meeting date has now been promised for June 10.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by An Nguyen. Written in English by Richard Finney.