The United States lodged an official protest with the Vietnamese government on Thursday over what news reports called a police assault of an American diplomat who monitors human rights issues as he was trying to visit a dissident priest.
Michael W. Michalak, the United States ambassador to Vietnam, described the attack on the diplomat, Christian Marchant, as “an incident of grave concern.”
The attack took place Wednesday in Hue, the former imperial capital. Accounts of the episode were sketchy, and the embassy’s spokesman in Hanoi declined to provide details. But a report by Radio Free Asia, the United States-financed broadcaster, said Mr. Marchant had been wrestled to the ground outside the home of the Rev. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, a Roman Catholic priest being held under house arrest as part of a 2007 conviction on accusations of undermining the government.