|Tho Hoa parish priest Nguyen Duy Tan|
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.
Writing on Facebook, Tan said that he had locked the church gate when the group arrived, and had rung the church’s bell to alert parishioners in the neighborhood to come to help.
Parishioners then briefly held 13 of the invading group, who identified themselves as Catholics and wrote in a statement of “confession” that they were angry at Tan because he had wanted to “overthrow the Communist Party and government of Vietnam” and had used insulting words against Party founder Ho Chi Minh.
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