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    » 07/03/2012, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Vinh: Catholics targeted by thugs and authorities. Dozens of faithful injured during

    Nguyen Hun

    A group linked to the Patriotic Front targets the Catholics of Con Cuong while celebrating mass. A woman has fractures to her head and is hospitalized. The authorities pay authors of the raid up to 25 dollars as "compensation" for their "work". Protest of the faithful: violation of religious freedom and the laws of the country.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) - A group of thugs linked to the Vietnam Patriotic Front, instigated by local authorities, targeted the faithful gathered in a house of prayer in Con Cuong district - Nghe An province, Vinh Diocese- as they gathered to celebrate Mass Sunday. The attack against the Catholic community took place on the evening of July 1 and is just the latest in a series of incidents of persecution that have targeted Christian communities in the area since November of last year (see AsiaNews 29/12 / Young Vinh Catholic kidnapped by police on Christmas Eve). Anonymous sources interviewed by AsiaNews also reported that the so-called "local authority" gave up to 25 dollars "compensation" to the thugs who beat priests and lay people who only wanted to gather to celebrate the Eucharist.

    On the evening of July 1, as every Sunday, Fr. J.B. Nguyễn Đình Thuc met with faithful in a chapel of Con Cuong, to celebrate mass. Suddenly, a group of thugs - probably close to an extremist nationalist movement - disrupted the function targeting those present. Instigated by local authorities, who pay these groups to attack Catholic communities, the mob struck with force and brutality, injuring dozens of people. One of them, Mrs. Maria Ngo Thi Thanh, suffered a skull fracture and was hospitalized in intensive care.

    In recent weeks, officials of Con Cuong have patrolled the streets of the district on board a jeep, broadcasting slogans and warnings against Catholics - lay and clergy - guilty of "illegally celebrating of the Mass". Some families confirm that "local authorities do not know" or pretend not to know the "laws governing religious freedom in Vietnam." Police and security agents threaten Christians and force the faithful to promise not to participate in functions or ceremonies in the future. "They are violating the laws of Vietnam - comment members of the community - as well as basic human rights."

    However, in spite of threats and persecution, which continued for a year and a half Fr. B. Nguyễn Đình Thuc celebrated Sunday Mass and rites associated with major feast days. In response, the local government has strengthened its enforcement policy "by mobilizing hundreds of people including police, undercover agents and groups of thugs" who throw stones at the faithful, and make arrests. A source, anonymous for security reasons, tells AsiaNews that the perpetrators of the violence "are rewarded with 25 dollars each" for their actions against peaceful believers.

    In response to yet another attack, the parishioners have protested outside the offices of the district Con Cuong People's Committee, asking the local party secretary to put an end to violations and respect the principle of freedom of religious profession. But leaders continue to ignore these requests and allocate police to harass the faithful. In recent weeks, the traffic control officers have closed access to the churches, making it increasingly difficult to participate in mass and services. The faithful expect a strong and resolute stance of the Bishop of Vinh, in defense of religious freedom.

     

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    See also

    08/10/2013 VIETNAM
    Vinh: amid threats and attacks, 50 thousand Catholics pray for release of the two parishioners
    Tens of thousands of faithful at the Mass on October 6 , ask for the release of two faithful unjustly imprisoned. The function was held in an area marked by the devastation caused by typhoon Witif . Not far away soldiers and paramilitary militias held urban warfare exercises in riot gear.

    10/08/2009 VIETNAM
    More protest vigils in the diocese of Vinh. Difficult glimmers of dialogue with the government
    A candlelight vigil throughout the 178 parishes of the diocese of Vinh to demand an end to violence against Catholics and the release of 3 faithful kept in prison. The government of Quang Binh invites representatives of the clergy to speak, but there are fears for the safety of the priests.

    17/09/2013 VIETNAM
    Vinh : Catholics say Mass and prayers against Vietnamese authorities’ calumnies
    Bishops, priests and thousands of faithful attended the function in the sanctuary of St. Anthony. A celebration that "challenges" governmental bans and impositions on worship. Bishop of Vinh : " The authorities continue to spread false information." The Catholic community turns out in defense of the prelate .

    16/08/2011 VIETNAM
    Thousands of Vietnamese Catholics in prayer against government arrests
    Protests of the faithful against the crackdown imposed by the government in recent weeks after more than 40 arrests. A Mass to remember the raids by police in the Diocese of Vinh and Thanh Hoa. Priest in Saigon: non-Catholics also involved. For the Vietnamese "The days of silence are over."

    26/05/2011 VIETNAM
    Archbishop of Hanoi against the demolition of Sisters of Saint Paul convent
    The bishop sent a letter to the "competent authorities at all levels", claiming the rightful ownership of the building. Yesterday a meeting with the local government, described as "a waste of time." The pain of the faithful for the continuing cases of forced evictions, despite a 2004 law to protect places of worship.



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