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ICC Note: Despite not being listed by the State Department as a Country of Particular Concern for violations of religious freedom, the Communist government of Vietnam continues to regularly imprison Catholic and Protestant Christians. Even attempting to lend aid or voice support for imprisoned Christians can lead to trouble with Vietnamese authorities, as the families in the article below recently discovered. 
09/03/2012 Vietnam (AsiaNews) – Parents and friends of 17 Catholics and Protesters in prison for more than a year on account of their religion and conscience are on a “freedom march” to get them released. On their way however, they met with police repression. Still, they were able to turn their trip into a pilgrimage, visiting holy sites, monasteries and places of worship targeted by government repression, including Thai Ha parish in the capital Hanoi.
Between 24 and 28 August, some 30 Christian families related to activists and intellectuals on trial travelled to Hanoi on foot. In the capital, they marched through the streets carrying banners that said: “Vietnamese authorities, release the innocent youth,” “My boy is innocent,” or “My brother is innocent.” For a year, they had appealed and pleaded with the government to free their loved ones in jail for their faith or ideas.
The authorities instead responded to this peaceful demonstration with force. Security forces rounded up the marchers and put them in a waiting bus to send them back to where they came from. They also turned down all petitions and prevented a formal complaint from being made.
Despite all of this, the four-day march to Hanoi gave participants an opportunity to undertake a special pilgrimage in some of the places that symbolise their faith and personal freedoms, something the Communist regime has too often denied.

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