Asia

Vietnam land eviction trial begins

Fisher farmer Doan Van Vuon (second left, front row) and his family members stand trial at a local People's Court House in the northern coastal city of Haiphong, 2 April 2013
Image caption The case of Doan Van Vuon, second from left, has attracted much attention

The trial of four Vietnamese farmers who used home-made bombs and shotguns to fight land eviction has opened in the port city of Haiphong.

Doan Van Vuon, 53, his brother and two other relatives are facing attempted murder charges for injuring several police officers in January 2012.

The case has attracted attention, as farmers resorting to violence to protect their land in Vietnam is rare.

Farmers receive rights for a limited time, as land belongs to the state.

Security has been tight outside the court where hundreds of protesters have gathered to await news on Mr Vuon's fate.

Aside from the four men, two others are also facing charges of resisting law enforcement.

Mr Vuon and his brothers have become heroes of sorts in Vietnam, says the BBC's Nga Pham.

Rarely have the police been challenged, even if violently, during land clearances, although such incidents happen almost every day, our correspondent adds.

The district government gave Mr Vuon the land to farm for 14 years before it said it wanted it back as part of a future infrastructure project. The remaining part was to be rented at a higher cost.

Mr Vuon protested against the decision, arguing that his family had spent years developing the land and had to pay back debts.

The government moved to evict him after negotiations failed and this resulted in a stand-off.

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