In the past several days, demonstrators have staged a series of protests in Saigon. Many?
PULL BACK FROM well to one legged man in graveyard
MV Veteran watering vegetables between gravestones
CU Another veteran repairing cycle (2 shots)
GV Shanty town
CU Partly blind man standing at doorway
MV Veteran's wife with children
CU INT. Veterans in shanty home
CU Veterans & children making joss sticks
GV PAN Housing project outside Saigon
MV Veteran walking through shanty town
CU PULL BACK FROM veteran's leg to GV shanty town
Initials SGM/1250 SGM/1307
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In the past several days, demonstrators have staged a series of protests in Saigon. Many of the ostensibly peaceful protests, deteriorated into violence as police moved in the disperse the crowds. The most violent of these confrontations took place on Saturday (18 September) near the city's Buddhist university.
Most of the demonstrators have been protesting the country's uncontested presidential election on 3 October -- which finds President Nguyen Van Thieu as the only candidate -- but there distinct anti-war, anti-Thieu and anti-American overtones. Often, the more vociferous of the latter are disabled war veterans.
There are an estimated 250,000 disabled war veterans in South Vietnam, and many of them are having difficulty providing for themselves and families. Employment available is very limited, and the gradual American withdrawal decreases the number of jobs still further. The government provides small monthly pensions only to those veterans permanently disabled.
SYNOPSIS: There are more than a quarter of a million disabled war veterans in South Vietnam. Too often their sacrifices have gone Unrewarded, and several have committed suicide in public as a protest of their treatment by the government. Many are against the war, against President Thieu, and against the Americans.
Most of the disabled find difficulty in getting work, as the able-bodied are taken first for the better paying jobs. Resorting to living in shanty towns, responsibility for support often falls to the women and children. Only the permanently disabled qualify for a small monthly pension. Some of the veterans join with the children in the making of joss sticks, which can be sold in the market.
The government has built a housing estate outside of Saigon for victims of the 1968 Tet offensive and war veterans. Most of the veterans, however, choose not to live there, because it is too far from their jobs and the marketplace.The government seems to be paying greater attention to the veterans, as protests bring the veterans' condition to light. But any general alleviation of their plight may have to await the October election.