Vietnamese priest’s protest demanding justice for detained parishioner goes viral

protest

A video showing a priest in his clerical cassock staging a protest at a police detention centre has gone viral.

On June 19, Father Joseph Nguyễn Duy Tân, pastor of Thọ Hòa parish in Đồng Nai province, came to the police detention centre of Biên Hòa, 30km North of Sàigòn, to demand the immediate release of a laywoman who had gone missing 10 days previously.

The last time Phạm Ngọc Hạnh, a mother of five, was seen in public was on June 10 when she participated in a peaceful protest at Đồng Nai’s central park.

Footage of the protest posted on social media networks shows Hạnh being beaten and dragged on the street by a group of plain-clothed men.

She has remained incommunicado since.

The priest accused police of violently attacking and arbitrarily detaining a peaceful woman who just wanted to express legally her opposition to the new cybersecurity law and new special administrative-economic units that for many represent a sell-out to China.

Tân’s protest was not successful and has attracted criticism from state-run news outlets.

“It’s a beautiful image of a brave shepherd who dares to care for his flock amidst one the most difficult moments in the history of the nation,” said Fr Paul Van Chi Chu, spokesperson of The Federation of Vietnamese Catholic Mass Media.

Tân, 50, has also been a victim of repression.

Two weeks earlier, he was stopped at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport by public security officers when he was going to board a plane to Malaysia with 24 other priests of Xuân Lộc Diocese.

He was told the Public Security Department of Đồng Nai province had requested that he be forbidden to travel abroad.

Source

News category: Asia Pacific.

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