Three members of the banned group, Viet Tan, who are all US passport holders - Jennifer Truong, 44, Nguyen Ly Trong, 60, and Nguyen Quang Khanh, 57 - were arrested Monday for taking part in a demonstration outside government offices in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnamese police confirmed the arrests, but declined to give details.

The demonstration of about 100 people, most of whom were local farmers, carried placards calling themselves 'aggrieved citizens.' Many claimed their land had been illegally seized by local authorities.

'We only want to ask for justice and fairness,' one protester who declined to be named told the German Press Agency dpa.

Dozens of police arrived quickly on the scene to disperse the rally. They seized the mobile phones and digital cameras of everyone in the area, protesters said.

'Their action was aimed at containing news and pictures that could be disseminated to the world,' a spokesman from Viet Tan told dpa.

Although peaceful protests against the government are illegal in Vietnam, dozens of demonstrations have taken place across the country in the last five years, mostly relating to land disputes between the government and farmers or protesting Vietnamese policy on Chinese- backed bauxite mines in the Central Highlands.

Vietnamese authorities consider Viet Tan a terrorist organization.

Deutche Presse Agentur - March 16, 2011