Vietnam Catholics Detained After Clash

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A conflict in Vietnam has erupted after Catholics built a make-shift place of worship on the site of where a church that was desrtoyed during the Vietnam War once stood.

The confrontation began Monday when about 150 Catholics built the structure meant for religious services on the site of the Tam Toa Church. It was destroyed in 1968.

A local priest, Father Pham Dinh Phung, said they were also beaten.

"The police beat the Catholics, and some of them were bleeding," he said, adding that officers demolished the makeshift church and  took away the cross.

Police released two 15-year-old girls but the 18 others remained jailed, he said.

"We strongly protest the beating and arrests of the Catholics and demand their immediate release," Phung said.

The Vietnamese said the site was too close to a government built war memorial. Vietnam has often come under international criticism for restricting religious rights.

Source: The Associated Press

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