ICC Note: Men believed to be members of a local pro-government activist group armed with pistols and pepper spray descended on a catholic church on Monday to confront the parish priest over a Facebook post. The priest refused to press any charges with the police since they are on the same side of the group. Moreover, the police has refused to do any work at the scene after the attack.
09/5/2017 Vietnam (Radio Free Asia) – Men in plain clothes and armed with pistols, batons, and pepper spray descended on a Catholic church in southeast Vietnam’s Dong Nai province on Monday to confront the parish priest over a Facebook post the priest had made urging political reform in the one-party communist state.
The assault, in which the church’s attackers arrived by bus, took place at about 10:00 a.m. on Sept. 4 at the Tho Hoa parish church in the Xuan Tho commune in the province’s Xuan Loc district, parish priest Nguyen Duy Tan wrote later on his Facebook page.
Tan identified at least one of the harassing group as a member of a local pro-government activist group, Tan told RFA’s Vietnamese Service on Sept. 5.
“I recognized Nguyen Trong Nghia of the Red Flags group,” Tan said, adding that he saw other signs of support for the group from local police and other authorities.
“Commune security kept inviting them back to their office, and district security officers behaved the same way, refusing to do any work at the scene. They wouldn’t note down the registration numbers of the guns or count how many bullets they had,” he said.
Tan told RFA he declined to press charges with police against the group because “they are all on the same side, the side of the Communist Party.”
“There would have been no point in pushing for prosecution,” he said.