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Christians protest Vietnam ‘order’ to remove nativity scene

South East Asia

Christians protest Vietnam ‘order’ to remove nativity scene

Nine priests and their parishioners pose for a photo in front of the nativity scene at Dong Kieu Church Dec. 14 erected for the coming Christmas celebrations. (Photo courtesy of thanhnienconggiao)

Christians in northern Vietnam are protecting a church  nativity scene from being dismantled by local officials and braving the presence of police and military personnel around the church.

On 13 December, local authorities ordered the scene, which depicts the birth of Jesus – in Dong Kieu Church, in the Dien My Commune of Nghe An Province – to be removed. They accused the church of erecting it on disputed land though the church has maintained that it is part of their broader compound.

“We strongly oppose their illegal and unreasonable demand,” said one of the local Christians.

A Christian leader accused local authorities of backing “gangsters” to harass local Christians and destroy Christmas decorations on the road leading to the church. He also accused authorities of failing to take action against Communist supporters – the “Red Flag Group” – who threatened violence over the erection of the nativity scene.