Vietnam Catholics rally outside land claimed by church

Vietnam Catholics rally outside land claimed by church

Vietnam Catholics rally outside land claimed by church

Updated 19 December 2011, 13:20 AEDT

Hundreds of Vietnamese Catholics have gathered in Hanoi to pray in front of police barricades blocking off land claimed by the church.

Vietnamese authorities occupied the land on Friday and began building a public park intensifying a row between the country's Catholic community and its rulers.

The prime site in the heart of the capital Hanoi was the Vatican's embassy before it was taken over by the city's communist rulers following the departure of the French in the 1950s.

Catholic clergy and parishioners began holding mass rallies at the end of last year demanding the state return the land.

The protests ended earlier this year when the government agreed to resolve the problem, but Catholics say nothing has changed since then.

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