Song Ngoc parishioners move on Highway 1A (Photo:

Nghe An (VNA) – The administration of the central province of Nghe An on February 15 provided information about an incident involving Song Ngoc Parish regarding the marine pollution caused by Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co Ltd.

Authorities said that on February 10, Priest Nguyen Dinh Thuc in the parish of Song Ngoc in Quynh Ngoc commune, Quynh Luu district, wrote an open letter calling on other priests to pray for Song Ngoc parishioners who planned to file a lawsuit against Formosa to the People’s Court of Ky Anh township in nearby Ha Tinh province, where Formosa is located, on February 14.

On early February 14, about 500 parishioners gathered in Song Ngoc Parish to go to Ha Tinh. When arriving in Dien Hong commune of Nghe An’s Dien Chau district, traffic police demanded the parishioners move their vehicles into one lane to avoid congestion, according to authorities.

However, the parishioners refused to obey and continued to drive as they pleased, affecting traffic flow.

Police tried to persuade the parishioners to move their vehicles to the roadside so that Nghe An officials could talk to Priest Thuc and the parishioners.

While the vehicles were moving to the roadside, Thuc ordered a seven-seat car to stop in the middle of Highway 1A. As people on the car refused to get off, police had to move both the car and the people on it to allow traffic flow. Some parishioners disobeyed the request, causing a clash with the police.

Priest Thuc said he was injured by the police and then phoned dignitaries and parishioners in nearby areas to ask for help.

On 4pm the same day, the Secretary of the Nghe An provincial Party Committee, the Vice Standing Chairperson of the provincial People’s Committee, the Director of the province’s Department of Public Security, and some priests arrived on the scene to try and calm down the parishioners and ask Priest Thuc to tell them to return home.

After that, some parishioners moved onto Highway 1A to pressure police forces. Some reportedly threw bricks and stones at the police, injuring 16 officers (including the Director of the provincial Public Security Department) and damaging three cars.

Police arrested 21 people on the spot, according to Nghe An authorities.

The province asked the media to report on the incident in a timely and honest manner, adding that local agencies will investigate those who caused this incident.-VNA