April 13, 2004
As soon as the gatherings started the Vietnamese police and special forces intervened what follows is a developing story compiled with information received via mobile phones by Mr. Kok Ksor, President of the U.S.-based Montagnard Foundation and member of the General Council of the Transnational Radical Party.
On Saturday 10 April some 150,000 Degars went to the city of Buonmathuot in Vietnam's Central Highlands for a peaceful demonstration. After only a few hours, Vietnamese soldiers, mixed with the police and Vietnamese civilians attacked the crowd beating demonstrators with electric batons, throwing rocks, and shooting with rifles. Dozens of demonstrators have been reported dead and many have their legs and hands broken. There are reports of people being decapitated. The latest news put at around 200 the number of dead bodies left in the city and in the surrounding coffee plantations.
In the district of Ayunpa, some 100,000 people reached the major city from every direction. When the first demonstration started, some of them were beaten by the police and soldiers, who after a while had to desist as they were outnumbered by the crowd.
It is still not clear how many people participated in the demonstrations in Plei ku city as the communication was soon lost, thousands of people were expected to show up. The same will happen in Kontum city and Dalat city.
In the city of Phuoc Long the total was around 20,000; many of the demonstrators got hurt. In the district of Cu Jut there were 3,000 people, who participated in the demonstration, around 100 of them have been reported dead because of beating from soldiers and Vietnamese civilians. In the district of Dak Mil there 2,500 people demonstrated. But there are no figures on casualties.
Latest reports estimates at around 400 people the number of dead in a place called Pham Chu Trinh. There is the possibility that a massa exodus may start soon towards the bordering Cambodian jungle.
On Friday April 9, the Montagnards appealed on those countries that recognize freedom of religion TO request access to THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS and to monitor the situation, also with satellites, TO PROTECT THEIR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS.
A reaction of the international community is now more urgent then ever. The list of places can be used to compile satellite photographic evidence of what happened.
Source: Montagnard Foundation
The goal and purpose of the demonstration can be found here