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Government works on Church property

Catholics protest as sewage treatment plant project begins 'on our land'

Government works on Church property
Catholics at the prayer meeting reporter, Hanoi

November 18, 2011

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Around 1,000 Catholics staged a peaceful protest in Hanoi on Wednesday night as government authorities began construction of a sewage treatment project on seized Church property. The protesters gathered at Thai Ha Church in the capital to pray and demand the return of what they say is still Redemptorist-owned property. Redemptorist sources said work began on what were former convent buildings near the Dong Da hospital. Streets leading to the site were sealed off and residents near the site were also forced to stay in their homes just before work began. The sources said an estimated 1,000 workers and security personnel had descended on the work site. The government “borrowed” the land and has been using the buildings since 1959. Redemptorists say they bought the 61,455-square-meter plot of land in 1928 and built several convents and other facilities there. All the communists left them was the church and a convent on a 2,700-square-meter plot of land. They also sold some of the seized properties to private companies and government officials. Redemptorists say the government must now return the property so it can be used to meet the increasing religious needs of local people. Related reports: Catholics urged to remain calm

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