AFP – 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 an AFP 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.