Followers of one of the world's most influential Buddhist monks who were evicted from their Vietnamese monastery in September have been threatened with expulsion from another pagoda, they said Wednesday.

A nun who asked not to be identified said a crowd of about 100 descended on the Phuoc Hue pagoda in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong demanding the abbot sign a document to evict the followers of Thich Nhat Hanh.

"He didn't sign," and the crowd later left, she said.

They said they wanted to "protect the temple" but among them were policemen, the nun alleged. Local authorities including the police could not be immediately reached for comment.

Almost 200 devotees of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen monk and confidant of slain US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, have been staying at Phuoc Hue since September when they fled their monastery at Bat Nha, also in Lam Dong province.

Followers said at the time that they left Bat Nha after threats from unidentified people armed with hammers and batons.

"For the authorities, we are illegal," Trung Hai, a monk representing the group, said last month in Geneva.

Problems for Hanh's followers at Bat Nha began more than a year ago when the abbot there, who is linked to the official Vietnam Buddhist Church, told them they were no longer welcome.

All religious activity remains under state control in communist Vietnam but the government says it always respects the freedom of belief and religion.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman in October described the matter as an internal Buddhist dispute and denied that hundreds of people had been forced from Bat Nha.