Quantcast

Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 1 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Vietnam deploys dancers to foil protests

By Chris Brummitt

Associated Press

POSTED:


HANOI, Vietnam >> Anti-China protesters hoping to lay wreaths at a famous statue in the Vietnamese capital on Sunday were obstructed by an unusual sight of ballroom dancers and an energetic aerobics class held to a thumping sound system.

The demonstrators suspect the government deployed the dancers as a way to stop them from getting close to the statue and make their speeches inaudible. The few who tried to get close to the statue of Ly Thai To, the founder of Hanoi and a nationalist icon, were shooed away.

The protesters were marking the 35th anniversary of a bloody border war between China and Vietnam, where anger over Beijing's increasingly assertive territorial claims on islands in the South China Sea that Hanoi insists belong to it is already running high.

Relations with China, Vietnam's ideological ally and major trading partner, are a highly sensitive domestic political issue for Hanoi's rulers. They don't want anger on the street against China to spread to other areas of its repressive rule.

Nguyen Quang A, a well-known dissident, and others attending the rally in Hanoi on Sunday said the government deployed the dancers at the statue of Ly Thai To, and at another statue nearby, to prevent them gathering there. The tactic appeared to be part of a low-key approach to policing the event to avoid confrontation. There were scores of plainclothes security officers at the rally, but very few wearing uniform.

Quang said he asked the dancers to stop for a few minutes but that they refused.

Last year the government organized old women to hold a street protest to prevent a visiting U.S. government official from reaching a dissident's house, where he was due to talk to him about Hanoi's human rights record.

Around 70 people took part in Sunday's rally close to Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi.

They shouted anti-China slogans, and took video and photos of each other to be posted on dissident blogs and Facebook pages. After around 90 minutes, they managed to lay their wreaths commemorating the Vietnamese dead in the war at a pagoda before dispersing.

Earlier anti-China protests in the capital have resulted in demonstrators being dragged into buses or scuffles. The government is keen to avoid such images spreading on social media because they make it seem it is defending China against nationalist anger, which is widespread among many Vietnamese.







 Print   Email   Comment | View 1 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(1)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
Hugo wrote:
The "border war" was widely reported at the time as a full-scale military invasion by China of Vietnam. The invasion was very short. The invasion force was caught in a sunken valley in wet weather. A perfect site for WMD use. There were many reports at the time Vietnam had used Russian WMDs against China. Vietnam, like Germany and Libya, had always claimed the right to use WMDs on their own territory. Germany admitted to having buried nuke "engineering devices" on their eastern border. Yah! "Landscape (terrain) modification devices".
on February 16,2014 | 01:17PM
IN OTHER NEWS
Breaking News
Blogs
Political Radar
`Values,’ too

Political Radar
$29,595

Wassup Wit Dat!
Bettah Not Lose It

Political Radar
`My side’

Political Radar
‘He reminds me of me’

Bionic Reporter
Needing a new knee

Warrior Beat
Monday musings