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ICC Note: In what may be the largest incident of its kind in recent years thousands of police in Vietnam’s North-Central Nghe An Province brutally attacked Catholic protesters seeking the release of two arrested parishioners. One report cited more than 3,000 police and military involved in the crackdown, which took place on Wednesday. An unknown number of Catholics were severely injured and transported to hospital for treatment. Catholics in Vietnam are subject to tight restrictions by the still-Communist Vietnamese government. Many Catholics seeking the return of Church land since the Communist takeover in 1975 through protest marches and prayer vigils have faced violent repression at the hands of authorities. 
9/5/2014 Vietnam (AsiaNews) – Vietnamese police attacked hundreds of Catholics protesting in front of their church, using live ammunition and throwing grenades. Protesters were demanding the release of two parishioners arrested in June and held without charges.
According to eyewitness accounts, the incident, which took place yesterday in My Yen Parish, Nghe An province (north-central coastal region), was one of the most violent and bloody acts of repression carried out by the authorities in recent years.
An unknown number of people ended up in hospital for medical treatment with some patients in serious condition transferred urgently to Hanoi.
Police used batons and fired into the air to disperse the crowd, arresting an unspecified number of demonstrators.
State-controlled TV reported that about 300 people went to the Nghi Phuong village People’s Committee building in Nghi Loc district early Wednesday morning, saying they would not budge until My Yen parishioners Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai were freed after their unwarranted detention.
A day earlier, about 1,000 people, some of them carrying large banners, had campaigned for the pair’s release.
Tensions were high also because for two days, the authorities had announced the release of the two men without actually doing so.
“They [police] fired 15 [gun] shots in front of the My Yen church. They beat some parishioners with electric batons,” an eyewitness told Radio Free Asia (RFA).
A website linked to the Vietnamese Redemptorist Church posted pictures of dozens of people receiving treatment for serious injuries to the head, hand, stomach, and neck.
Online reports said up to 3,000 police officers and soldiers may have been mobilised in the crackdown. According to some eyewitnesses, police tried to stop people from getting treatment.
Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai were detained last June by men belonging to security agencies. They have been held without a formal indictment since then.
Their families have reported that they are in prison for “disturbing public order”, but no specific incident was mentioned that would justify their detention.

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