This morning October 2, thousands of Catholics in Hanoi carrying palms, as if in the Palm Sunday, marched in procession to the Hanoi City Court to attend the first court hearing against the Catholic lawyer Le Quoc Quan. The trial was said to be open to public. However, all directions leading to the court were blocked by human fences formed by a large number of police reinforced by thousands of pro-government thugs who felt no need to hide that they were criminal prisoners employed by police to violently attack anyone who dared to go beyond the fences.

Catholics joined by several Buddhists including a Buddhist nun held a peaceful sit-in protest, praying the Holy Rosary and yelling slogans asking for the immediate release of the Catholic attorney and a halt to the persecution of followers of beliefs.

Since early last week, local governments had sent staff to homes in Hanoi to persuade people not to attend the trial or face “difficulties.”

Days before the trial, a statement from the Justice and Peace Commission of the diocese of Vinh was released to condemn the trial as another typical example in the chains of serious violations of human rights and Vietnamese law, urging Catholics to pray for the lawyer who is also a member of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Vietnamese bishops' conference.

On Tuesday morning, despite storms, and heavy rains, police and plainclothes officers in Quan’s home province of Nghe An “searched all buses to stop people from leaving for the trial”, members of the jailed lawyer’s family said.

Local Catholic source said that police stopped buses carrying Catholics to Hanoi for the trial in Quynh Luu, north of Nghe An, and searched people’s belongings before forcing it to return home.

Despite his strong protest, the kangaroo court lasting for just a couple of hours, sentenced Quan to 30 months in jail for tax evasion and paid 1,2 millions VND (56,000 USD).