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Vietnam seeks arrest of activist over Facebook posts

HANOI (Reuters) – Police in Vietnam have issued an arrest warrant for an activist accused of trying to overthrow the state by posting pro-democracy materials on Facebook.

Nguyen Van Trang, a member of the banned group Brotherhood for Democracy, posted articles, photos and videos on his Facebook account that distorted the policies of the Communist Party and state, and incited people to protest, the Ministry of Public Security said on its website.

Despite sweeping economic and social reforms in Vietnam, the ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship and does not tolerate criticism.

Several Brotherhood members have been jailed this year since the group was formed in 2013 to “build multi-party democracy” in the Southeast Asian country.

Trang left his home in the northern province of Thanh Hoa and his whereabouts are unknown, the ministry said. The arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 5.

“Anyone has the right to arrest the suspect and escort him to the nearest police station,” it said.

Facebook is widely used in Vietnam and serves as the main platform for dissidents. The government said last month it wants 50 percent of social media users on domestic social networks by 2020 and plans to prevent “toxic information” on Facebook and Google.

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