The incident occurred on 6 April. The pastor said police and soldiers fired shots near the church and used tear gas and batons against parishioners, before they tore down decorations from the site.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Three Catholics were injured during in a clash with security forces in Houng Phuong, a village in Quang Binh province (central Vietnam),Radio Free Asia reported.
On Wednesday, police and soldiers fired bullets near the church and used tear gas and batons on the parishioners before tearing down decorations erected for an annual festival.
“It was noon time and most of the men were at work, so only old women and children were at home,” local priest Fr Le Nam Cao told RFA.
“Parishioners told me of the crackdown. I told them that I would not go out and they should go home and just let them do whatever they wanted because we had no weapons, so it was not good for us.”
Whilst Fr Le Nam Cao tried to convince his parishioners to stand down, some of them ignored his advice.
“Some people did not agree, so they fought back against the troops including policemen and soldiers who were well equipped with tear gas, bullets and batons,” the priest said.
“This is not the first time authorities have clashed with church parishioners, but usually it comes in the form of individual harassment,” Le Nam Cao explained.
“There were times they sent troops here to guard our village for two days. When they came here before they said they were searching for some drug dealers or something else. They did not say that they were cracking down on us. “
About 48 per cent of Vietnam's 87 million people is Buddhist, and 7 per cent is Catholic.
Although a small minority, Christians are particularly active in education, health and social affairs.
However, religious freedom has steadily eroded in recent years. Under Decree 92, more controls and restrictions have been imposed on religious practice, boosting the power of the Communist Party and the one-party state.
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