UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Dozens injured in crackdown on Vietnam Catholics
Gunshots and grenades fired, images and statues wrecked
An injured demonstrator being treated at a hospital in Nghe An province (photo courtesy of the Vietnamese Redemptorists News)
- ucanews.com reporter, Vinh city
- September 5, 2013
Vietnamese security forces in Nghe An province opened fire and threw grenades at a group of Catholics demonstrating in front of the My Yen church for the release of two parishioners.
“Some 40 people were severely wounded by about 3,000 police, soldiers and civil guards using grenades, tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd,” a priest from Nghe An province told ucanews.com.
“Most of the wounded are being given medical treatment at a clinic in the compound of the Bishop’s House, while those with severe head injuries are being treated at a local state-run hospital,” the priest added.
A Church source who asked not to be named said security forces also destroyed homes and Catholic statues and images.
Hundreds of Catholics on Wednesday surrounded the Nghi Phuong commune’s headquarters to demand the release of two Catholic men – Nguyen Van Hai and Ngo Van Kho, aged 43 and 53, respectively – who were detained on June 27 and are reportedly being held at a prison in Vinh city.
State-run media accused the two men of “causing public disorder, injuring local officials and destroying public property,” in the wake of an earlier confrontation on May 22 when a group of Catholics were prevented from visiting the local shrine of St Anthony of Padua.
According to Church sources, a scuffle broke out between plainclothes security personnel and local residents, during which three injured officials were rescued from an angry crowd of Catholics by local priests.
During yesterday’s violence, police arrested at least nine people, according to a report from Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Security personnel have since left the parish and redeployed to the commune headquarters.
State-owned Nghe An television blamed yesterday’s violence on local Catholics, saying they were forced to take action when the demonstrators turned violent, according to the RFA report.
Today police and troops no longer surround the parish but have gathered to protect the commune’s headquarters, according to local Church sources.
One source said that officials today asked local priests to help diffuse the crisis, but they have refused until the two parishioners are released from custody.