Vietnam police detain anti-China protesters

The protesters had defied a government order to stop an unprecedented series of weekly gatherings.

Last Updated: Aug 21, 2011, 12:18 PM IST

Hanoi: Vietnamese police on Sunday detained at
least 15 anti-China protesters who defied a government order
to stop an unprecedented series of weekly gatherings over
maritime tensions.

Just minutes after the protest began, burly plainclothes
agents moved in to force the demonstrators onto a bus which
had been on standby and drove them away, according to a news agency reporter at the scene.

Other protesters, some still shouting, were then shoved
onto a second bus.

The demonstrations, the 11th since early June, have been
held to protest against Chinese actions in the tense South
China Sea, where the two nations have a longstanding
territorial dispute.

Two protests in July were forcibly dispersed by police
after talks between Hanoi and Beijing, but subsequent rallies
were allowed to go ahead until authorities in the Vietnamese
capital on Thursday issued a stop order.

Published in Hanoi Moi, a mouthpiece for the ruling
Communist Party, the order said those who continue to gather
illegally could face "necessary measures".

It alleged that the protests were linked to "anti-state
forces" and had caused public disorder.

Overtly political demonstrations are rare in
authoritarian Vietnam but analysts said the gatherings
initially served Hanoi`s purpose in expressing displeasure
with Beijing.

PTI