Explosive used to demolish crucifix in a Hanoi Catholic cemetery
The press release by the Archdiocese of Hanoi about the incident reads almost like a war bulletin. "Police attacked the parish today, in the early morning, when both its pastor and the pastor’s assistant were at the annual retreat in the Archbishop Office. An estimated 500 heavily armed and well-entrenched police officers and a large number of trained dogs were deployed in the area to protect an army engineering unit that destroyed a large crucifix erected on a boulder inside the parish cemetery," the statement said.
The attack began at 3 am with the use of explosive. "On hearing explosions, parishioners rushed to the site to protect their crucifix but they were stopped by police who tried to drive them back,” Fr. Joseph Nguyen Van Huu, pastor of Dong Chiem parish, said.
Parishioners reported that they were shot at close range with tear gas canisters as they knelt kneeling praying and asking police officers to stop destroying their crucifix. Some were even beaten with batons.
The exact number of those injured during the clash with police has not been reported.
A similar attack occurred in the parish of Bau Sen in the diocese of Vinh. On 5 November of last year, anti-riot police and a bulldozer were used to remove a statue of the Virgin Mary from a Catholic cemetery.