More than three thousands Catholics gathered in the garden of the apostolic delegation’s office to hold a prayer protest at 5pm on Sunday, the deadline for sit-in demonstrators to leave the site.

Praying at the cross erected on January 25
Praying at the Pieta Virgin Mary statue
Ngo Thi Thanh Hang, the deputy chairwoman of the People's Committee in Hanoi, angered local Catholics again with another statement dated 26 January in which she accused Hanoi Catholics of attacking security personnel, disturbing public order, erecting illegally the cross in the garden of the site, and spreading distortions about the government on Internet.

She also charged sit-in demonstrators of occupying state-owned buildings and threatened that they would face extreme actions unless they dispersed before 5pm on Sunday. Even more astonishing, she “ordered” the office of Hanoi Archbishop to remove the cross and all statues of the Virgin Mary out of the site, and “to submit a report” to her “before 6pm of Sunday 27”.

“It’s completely ridiculous,” said Fr. Joseph Nguyen, “Is she a pope on demanding the archbishop to make a report to her?”

Ms. Ngo already angered local Catholics with a January 14 statement in which she accused the archbishop of "using freedom of religion to provoke protests against the government” and thus "damaging relations between Vietnam and the Vatican,"

In order to make Ms. Ngo’s ultimatum more intimidating, state-controlled media distorted the January 25 clash to accuse Hanoi Catholics of attacking security personnel, and call for immediate and strong measures from the government to ensure and re-establish public order.

Fr. Joseph Nguyen, who was at the site on Friday, disagreed with state-controlled media. “It’s a shamefull distortion”, said Fr. Nguyen. "The second prayer protest (on January 25) was held at 11:30 am after the Mass. During the demonstration, a Hmong Catholic woman climbed over a gate to place flowers at a statue of the Virgin Mary inside the building."

"When she was discovered by security personnel, the woman was chased around the garden of the building. Disregarding the woman's explanations for her venturing into the building, the guards kicked and slapped her severely. In the witness of more than 2,000 Catholics, a security commander even loudly ordered his subordinates to beat to death the woman".

"Lawyer Lê Quốc Quân intervened and told the security officials that their acts were unlawful. They should stop beating the woman. However, they turned to attack him and dragged him to an office where he was beaten cruelly."

"Seeing all this brutality, in order to rescue Mr. Quân and the woman, the protesters had no other choice than breaking through the gate to confront the security officers. "

"Local authorities of Hanoi have accused Hanoi Catholics of attacking the security force first. It is simply a blatant lie".

For the ultimatum, Fr. Joseph Nguyen reported that "In weekend Masses, the Catholic community has been informed about the ultimatum, and urged to be united in prayer that God may bless, strengthen and guide them in the fight for justice”.

Despite all threatening acts from the government, more and more Catholics go to the site to pray, chant and sing. Some even sleep at the site to protect their cross and statues.