Protest in Little Saigon Swells to 10,000, Police Say


What began as a protest against a communist flag at a Westminster video store drew more than 10,000 people Monday to a political rally for freedom in Vietnam.

Police said the crowd, which overflowed the shopping center and jammed nearby streets, was the largest by far in a month of demonstrations in Little Saigon. Vietnamese immigrants are protesting shopkeeper Truong Van Tran’s display of the flag and a portrait of Ho Chi Minh.

“For us, this is about more than Mr. Tran,” said protester Tony Le, 47, who said his father was killed by Vietnamese communists.

The crowd chanted, sang patriotic songs and listened to a series of speakers calling for reform in Vietnam.

Tran Trong Dat, a community leader and protest organizer, said the wide media attention to the event is a chance to send a message worldwide: “We need to fight for freedom and democracy in Vietnam.”


Protests and vigils began on the eve of Martin Luther King Day, when Tran, 37, posted the flag and portrait, saying he wanted to encourage fellow Vietnamese to view their homeland in a new way.

The reaction was immediate and angry--hundreds of protesters began daily demonstrations.

On Monday, as protesters milled about in front of the shop, Tran was served with a lawsuit by his landlord attempting to evict him for creating a public nuisance and not paying his rent.