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Priest beaten into a coma by police, Catholics protest throughout Vietnam

ICC Note:

Police attempting to stop a July 26 protest against the violence used against the parish of Tam Toa attacked numerous Catholics, seriously injuring two priests. One priest suffered broken ribs and head injuries while the second was beaten into a coma and thrown from the 2nd floor of a building.

7/28/09 Vietnam (AsiaNews) Two priests are in serious condition after they were savagely beaten by Vietnamese police and thugs, who tried in vain to stop the demonstrations held last July 26 in Vinh (300 km south of Hanoi) to demand justice for the violence used against the Christian community of the parish of Tam Toa.

The diocesan office in Vinh issued a statement last night in condemning the attacks by police and gangs of thugs acting on police orders, on the two priests, Fr Paul Nguyen Dinh Phu and Fr. Peter Nguyen The Binh, whose conditions are very critical. Both have been admitted to hospital in Dong Hoi, the first with broken ribs and head injuries, the second was beaten into a coma and then hurled from the 2nd floor of the building.

The diocesan statement also denounces that police and gangs of thugs have been attacking anyone who dares to wear a Catholic religious symbol. In a particular episode, the thugs savagely beat a woman, Nguyen Thi Yen and her child of 9 years.

On 26 July morning, Fr. Paul Dinh Phu Nguyen, pastor of Du Loc, was attacked by a group of plainclothes policemen as he was travelling to the parish of Tam Toa, for the celebration of mass together with five other priests of the deanery of Trooc. The mass was to have started a peaceful demonstration to protest against the beating suffered by many faithful of the parish of Tam Toa, who were repairing the ruined church. Seven faithful were arrested.

The news of the attacks to the two priests and other faithful of Dong Hoi has sparked a fresh protest. In Ho Chi Minh City, yesterday evening, more than 2 thousand Catholics attended a prayer vigil at the Redemptorist monastery, asking the Vietnamese government to immediately stop the persecution of the Church.

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