The candlelight vigil on Saturday night
Police truck in the area of the court
Thousands of Catholics gathered at Thai Ha to pray for parishioners to be tried. The candlelight vigil prompted local government to deploy a large number of police and security personnel in the area.

More than three thousands of Catholics attended a candlelight vigil at Thai Ha to pray for 8 parishioners who would be tried on Monday for what Vietnam government described as “damaging state property and disorderly conduct in public.” Many of them came from nearby dioceses. There were even groups from Vinh diocese, more than 300 km away from Hanoi.

Except two women who were still being jailed, six parishioners to be tried on Monday joined in the candlelight vigil during which they were introduced to the congregation and received warm applauses.

Being shocked by the event, on Sunday, hundreds of police were deployed in Thai Ha and a large number of elite units were sent to the area of People’s Committee of O Cho Dua where the trial would be held on Monday.

A large metal detector machine was setup in front of the office while local armed forces and police dogs trained in detection of explosives raided the area.

During Sunday, police summoned the six parishioners to warn them for their presence at the candlelight vigil stressing that the verdict put on them in Monday trial would depend heavily on “their attitude of co-operation” in the trial.

As the trial is more political in nature, Le Tran Luat, the lawyer of defendants, also believes the verdict depends on the attitude of defendants at the court.

“In my experience, in such a case, if defendants plead guilty as the government expects, they may get a tolerant verdict. Those who insist that they are not guilty will be sentenced more harshly up to 2.5 or 3 years in jail,” he said.