Residents of Con Dau hamlet near the city of Danang said police had arrested dozens of villagers Tuesday.

It was the latest in a series of conflicts between police and Catholics over religious land in recent years.

Authorities had posted a sign barring burials at the cemetery on April 20, because the land was to be transferred to make way for the tourism project.

"We have not agreed to allow them to transfer the cemetery, but they still banned us," said Nguyen Thi Trieu, whose 17-year-old son was arrested. "We are not satisfied with the compensation."

Authorities on Sunday told the family of Ho Nhu, who died May 1, not to bury her in the cemetery and warned the parish priest not to organize a ceremony.

But Nhu's final wish was to be buried beside her husband. On Tuesday morning, villagers carrying the coffin confronted police barring the cemetery entrance with a steel net. Trieu said police beat several people and arrested dozens.

Villager Phan Trung Thanh said authorities took Nhu's body to Danang for cremation.

Local police officials refused to comment on the case.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - May 5, 2010