The trial of a Vietnamese fish farmer who became a hero for resisting a compulsory land eviction with homemade weapons has begun.
Doan Van Vuon is charged with attempted murder after he and his family confronted authorities trying to evict them from their fish farm in Tien Lang district.
Scores of people defied police to voice support for the accused family and protest about land rights outside the Hai Phong People's Court.
At least three well-known activists were arrested as police broke up the protest.
Court documents said seven police officers were injured in the January 2012 incident after the family resisted eviction with homemade shotguns.
The family's act of defiance has triggered a nationwide outpouring of support, including a promise from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to prosecute corrupt local officials for the "illegal" eviction.
Mr Vuon, 50, is being tried for attempted murder with three other male relatives, who have all been in detention since the incident.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of death.
His wife and sister-in-law are being tried on a charge of resisting officers.
According to the indictment read out in court, Mr Vuon and his relatives used the homemade weapons and demonstrated "murderous behaviour" towards public officials.
"I knew the use of weapons was not in accordance with the law... my view was that the eviction was illegal so if they did not stop I would be forced to fight it," Mr Vuon said.
"We just wanted to threaten them."
He said his family did not intend to hurt anyone during the standoff but had decided to fight back to try to draw the attention of the country's leaders to their plight.
Five former local officials in the area will go on trial next Monday over the destruction of Mr Vuon's house.
Mr Vuon's supporters, who travelled to Hai Phong in droves, voiced fears he would receive a harsh sentence as a deterrent to others.
"If the government gives a lenient sentence it may urge other people to react more strongly," pro-democracy campaigner Pham Hong Son said.
Police on the outskirts of Hai Phong prevented busloads of pro-democracy activists and Catholic supporters - the Vuon family is Catholic - from entering the city.
Land is a divisive issue in communist Vietnam as it is wholly owned by the state and rights of use are not always clear or protected.
More than 70 per cent of all complaints lodged with authorities nationwide concern land.
Twenty-year land-leases issued in 1993 will expire this year and the government has not made it clear how the issue will be resolved.