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(Compass) – Police raided a large wedding ceremony in the Eritrean capital of Asmara on Saturday, May 28, arresting at least 250 guests present, including Benyam Gezae and his bride and their wedding party. Police authorities reportedly contacted the families of all the imprisoned Christians, and after detaining the wedding party over night at the Expo police station, released most of the prisoners found to be members of legally sanctioned churches. However, 70 individuals belonging to the outlawed Protestant churches still remain under arrest. The authorities have pressured these evangelical Christians to abandon their beliefs and return to one of the “legal” churches. “The word on the street in Asmara is that these arrests were direct retaliation for the protest vigil held three days earlier in front of the Eritrean Embassy in Washington, D.C.,” one informed source told Compass. The vigil marked the third anniversary of a harsh government crackdown launched in May 2002 against Eritrea ’s evangelical Christians and other religious minorities.