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Vietnamese Activists Stopped from Holding Rights Rallies

Dissidents in Vietnam say authorities have stopped them from holding gatherings to mark International Human Rights Day.

In interviews with VOA's Vietnamese service, online activists say officials dispersed crowds in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday.

Activist Trang Loan said her group was treated roughly by police.

"They had members of Communist Youth Union yelling at us through loudspeakers ‘Assembling is not allowed,’ and asking us to leave the site. I was slapped in the face by a police officer in plain clothes. They beat me and the other participants, which showed they were frightened by our peaceful activities for human rights," said Loan.

But Phuong Dung says activists like her will not be intimidated.

“When organizing and participating in these activities we know beforehand that we are going to face with such harassment and repression from the government. However, we want to show to everybody that these advocacy acts are normal. We want our country to develop and we want our people to understand their basic rights. We will definitely continue such activities and keep going with what are beneficial to our society . We will not give up," said Dung.

The bloggers say they were only trying to discuss human rights, and hand out copies of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the U.N .Convention Against Torture and balloons with rights advocacy logos.

Vietnamese officials have not commented on the gatherings.

U.N. International Human Rights Day is Tuesday.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.