Priest asks Vietnam authorities to release arrested Catholics
A Vietnamese Catholic priest Wednesday called on the government to release seven parishioners arrested at a protest rally over a former church now used as a war memorial.
"The government has asked Catholics to calm down over this case. We will not calm down until they release the seven people they arrested," said Father Pham Dinh Phung of the Vinh Diocese in the province of Quang Binh.
The protestors were arrested July 21 after a group of several hundred parishioners tried to erect a cross and other religious structures at Tam Toa church, in the town of Dong Hoi.
The remains of the church, largely destroyed by US bombers during the Vietnam War, were rededicated as a war memorial in 1997.
Hoang Cong Tu, deputy head of Vietnam's national Investigation Security Agency, told the German Press Agency
Deutsche Presse Agentur - July 31, 2009