Gangsters attack nuns in Hanoi

Gangsters attack Hanoi nuns with batons

Gangsters have attacked a group of nuns as they protested against the construction of a house on their former land.

The St Paul de Chartres sisters in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, tried to stop workers getting onto the site.

Witnesses say gangsters working for the builders beat one nun unconscious.

They say building workers had moved their equipment onto the site overnight.

They say the builder’s gangsters insulted the nuns, then began to assault them and finally struck them with batons.

Witnesses accused police of standing by and doing nothing to prevent the attack.

The sisters claim that their congregation had taken legal ownership of the plot in 1949.

It is 200 square metres in area.

After 1954, when communists controlled northern Vietnam, the government rented a novitiate building on the site for an institute of microbiology.

Authorities later divided the site and sold it to other people.

Over the years, the nuns have many times asked the government to return the land.

Developer moves in

In 2016, a Hanoi builder hired workers to build a house on the land.

She had told the nuns that local authorities had granted her a building permit and a certificate to use the land.

The government ordered a stop to work after the nuns petitioned them.

After the attack, the nuns again petitioned local authorities but have so far seen no action or a stop made to building.

Spokeswoman, Sister Quynh, says officials refused to make any decision on the nuns’ demand.

Furthermore, she says they will continue marching to government bodies to ask them to deal with the illegal construction.

Vietnam-based Association to Protect Religious Freedom supports the nun’s attempts to regain ownership of their site.

It says that it “strongly condemns violent actions against the nuns and calls on authorities to probe the attack.”

The association has a wider brief to protect religious freedom in Vietnam.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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