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Hanoi: gang attack on Protestants; sewage plant on Church-owned land

CWN - November 18, 2011

A gang of men attacked an unregistered Baptist prayer meeting near Hanoi on November 13, smashing a cross and beating the pastor to the point of unconsciousness. Collaboration between the gang and local police is suspected.

On November 16, 1,000 Catholics engaged in a peaceful protest against a sewage-treatment plant that is being constructed in Hanoi on land owned by the Redemptorist order. Communist officials “borrowed” the land in 1959. The protesters massed at the site of the Redemptorist monastery despite threats by police to take “extreme actions” against public demonstrations. The rally took place after more than 500 riot police and militiamen were deployed to prevent interference with the construction project.

The same Hanoi church was the site of a violent invasion on November 3. About 100 people burst into the courtyard of the church, using loudspeakers to curse and threaten the Redemptorist community, and smashing some church property with sledgehammers. That incident prompted Catholics to rally outside the local office of the People’s Committee of Hanoi, protesting the government propaganda campaign that has vilified the Redemptorist parish and incited public sentiment against the Catholic community.

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