Hanoi: Priests and parishioners brutally beaten and arrested by police
J.B. An Dang12/2/2011

Hanoi police and militiamen attacked Catholics in broad daylight
Hundreds of priests and parishioners were attacked by an outnumbered of police and militiamen this mooring in the capital of Hanoi after they submitted their petition to suspend a construction on a land in dispute.

At 8:30 this morning, dozens of Hanoi Redemptorists led a group of hundreds of parishioners to the City’s People’s Committee to submit their urgent petition which asked for the suspension of a hospital sewage treatment system on a parish’ lot of land.

They could manage to hand in their petition. However, on the way home, an outnumbered of police and militiamen stopped them and brutally beat, and arrested dozens of priests and parishioners of Thai Ha Parish.

Among the detainees were Redemptorist Fr. Joseph Nguyen Van Phuong, the Pastor of Thai Ha Parish, Fr. Joseph Luong Van Long of Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery, some other clergy and at least 30 parishioners.

Vietnam Redemptorist Province has reported that Fr. Joseph Nguyen is still in a critical condition as a result of being beaten brutally with batons.

The incident again shows that the Vietnamese Government continues to ignore internationally agreed norms and continues to use fear and violence to excuse itself from observing principles in conformity with its own laws and the international agreements which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has signed or acceded to.

It is worth recalling that on November 3rd, hundreds of thugs broke into the courtyard of the church of Thai Ha. They used loud speakers to insult and threaten to kill priests and parishioners. They even used sledgehammers to damage the monastery. These outrageous acts were carried out with the back of police and security agents; and then followed by distorted reports of the state-controlled media in Vietnam.

On November 21st, a uniformed man burst into the church of Thai Ha in front of indifferent police agents, scaring children who were attending a weekly Mass for Eucharistic groups, and insulted the priest who was celebrating the Mass threatening more terrorist actions against the church.

This violent attack bore resemblance to the 2008 surprise attack also aimed at Thai Ha parish. On Sunday September 21st, 2008 the monastery's chapel was ransacked with statues destroyed, and books torn to pieces. In addition, "the gang yelled out slogans threatening to kill priests, religious, faithful and even our archbishop,” wrote Fr. Matthew Vu Khoi Phung, Superior of Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery in a protest letter sent to People's Committee of Hanoi City and police agencies of Hanoi and Dong Da district, referring to then Archbishop of Hanoi Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet.

As a response to his complaint, on November 11th, a second attack came by an even larger crowd of thugs.

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