Posted by: becketfund | September 7, 2008

Vietnam: Catholics Defy Government in Land Dispute

HANOI – Hundreds of Catholics have been holding daily prayer vigils since August 15 on a plot of land they are demanding be returned to the Thai Ha Church, the AP reported on September 7. This is the second time this year that Catholic protestors have occupied state-controlled land that once belonged to the Church. City officials have pleaded with them to leave, but once rumors circulated that the Virgin Mary had come to lend her support, the number of protestors increased. Tensions increased in August after parishioners and two priests said dozens of police used stun guns and clubs to disperse a crowd of nearly 300 that had gathered outside a police station near the disputed land. The Archbishop said that although the Hanoi diocese does not organize the vigils, he nevertheless supports them.

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