Vietnamese villagers win right to tractor transport

August 29, 2011

Government officials in Dak Lak province, a rural part of central Vietnam, have waived their normal traffic rules so Catholics can get to Sunday Mass by tractor.

"We're happy they've allowed us to do this for the villagers, as many of them are elderly people, women and children," said Peter Inuk, one of the tractor owners who provide transportation for Massgoers.

"We use 10 tractors altogether, pulling handmade wagons to transport 200 people to Thuan Phuc church, which is 10 km from their village," he said. "On weekdays, we would be fined if we were caught, as farm vehicles are banned from running on national roads."

Police relaxed the rules after 300 local Catholics submitted a petition to the district authority, asking for the villagers' religious freedom to be respected by allowing them to travel to church by tractor because there is no chapel in the village.