Show of Support for General Vang Pao

May 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
General Vang Pao will be making an appearance in a federal courtroom Monday in Sacramento. Supporters of General Vang Pao are gathering at Courthouse Park in Downtown Fresno and in Sacramento to rally support for the general. Pao is accused of attempting to overthrow the Laotian government. All the Hmong people are coming from around the country to march to find justice for the Hmong people.

Before the break of dawn Monday, hundreds of Hmong boarded 30 tour buses in Fresno headed for the state capitol. 10 more buses picked up dozens more in the North and South Valley.

The Hmong community is united by their white shirts and their support for General Vang Pao. "Wearing white means wearing we need a peaceful rally for our people we need justice for our people," said Ge Herr of Fresno.

The journey to Sacramento is symbolic of the Hmong people's loyalty and steadfast support of General Pao. Two years ago federal agents arrested the 79-year-old and 10 other Hmong refugees for allegedly plotting a violent overthrow of the Government of Laos.

Monday morning, the men are in federal court in Sacramento where defense attorneys hope to get what they call "trumped up charges" against them thrown out. "Today however we have a hearing that there is possibility that we can get this case dismissed based upon their investigation that there is not enough evidence totally misconduct by the US government," said March organizer Paula Yang. "I believe the case will be dropped."

Colonel William Lair is the retired C.I.A. agent who recruited General Pao and trained Pao's army of 10,000 Hmong to help the U.S. fight the communists in Laos during the Vietnam War.

He spoke exclusively to Action News last weekend and told us he and General Pao remained friends during the last 5 decades. In fact, Monday morning the former C.I.A. agent is expected to testify against the federal agents who arrested Pao.

"To me it's clear it was mishandled so badly by the U.S. Government," said retired C.I.A. Agent Colonel William Lair. "I don't know why it's gone this far. It seems to me they should have thrown this out already."

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