Protests erupt throughout the country
J.B. An Dang7/28/2009

Protests have erupted throughout the country after two Catholics priests had been beaten half-dead. Plain-clothed police and pro-government thugs began to attack Catholics on the streets of Dong Hoi.

The Bishop's Office of the diocese of Vinh in a statement released on Monday night condemned the attacks by plain-clothed police and pro-government thugs on Fr. Paul Nguyen Dinh Phu and Fr. Peter Nguyen The Binh both of whom are still in critical condition.

The statement also reported that plain-clothed police and pro-government thugs in Dong Hoi city have attacked anyone on the street wearing Catholic symbols. In particular, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Yen and her 9 year old son were punched and kicked brutally by the same gang. Some Catholic families reportedly have to flee the city in search for safety.

News of the assaults on the said priests and other attacks on Catholics at Dong Hoi city has enraged Catholics throughout the country.

In Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon, on Monday night, more than 2000 Catholics attended a Candlelight Vigil held at the Redemptorist Monastery of the city demanding Vietnam government to stop immediately the overt persecution against the Church and its innocent people.

Almost simultaneously with the Vigil in Saigon were special services at local churches and at Thai Ha Redemptorist Monastery in Hanoi drawing thousands of Catholics.

On Monday night, in Nghe An, Ha Tinh, and Quang Binh, thousands of Catholics marched on the streets praying Rosary. Peaceful protestors demanded the immediate release of 7 Catholics who have been detained since the violent police raid at Tam Toa a week ago.

Fr. Vo Thanh Tam, the secretary of the College of Priests of Vinh Diocese, while condemning the brutality of police in Quang Binh province, praised police in the Vinh city for their self-constraint and their help to make ways for thousands of Catholics marching peacefully on the streets on Monday.

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