In an announcement on Thursday, the Hanoi People’s Committee has ordered a halt to weekly anti-China demonstrations in Hanoi.
The government has threatened that “for those who deliberately disobey, trying to illegally gather causing public disorder... authorities can apply necessary measures.”
The protests began in early June following heightened tensions stemming from territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Up to 300 demonstrators have gathered in Hanoi every Sunday for about 10 weeks to protest China’s actions in the South China Sea.
Such protests are rare in communist Vietnam. Two protests in July were forcibly dispersed by police whilst negotiations were taking place between China and Vietnam.
In Thursday’s announcement, the government acknowledged that the protests were motivated by patriotism, but said that protests had to stop as they were being abused by “anti-state forces” to stir up dissent against communist rule.
The announcement stated that "their conspiracy and intention has been to disrupt the great national unity, instigating national hatred, separating relations between Vietnam and China," and disrupting political stability.
Report: Vietnam halts anti-China protests [BBC News, 18 Aug 2011]
Report & Analysis: Hanoi warns anti-China protesters to stop [AFP, 18 Aug 2011]
Report: Hanoi Officials Order Halt to Weekly Anti-China Protests [Voice of America, 18 Aug 2011]
UPDATE: Police in Hanoi rounded up dozens of people at an anti-China rally in the center of Hanoi on Sunday as they gathered for the 11th week of protests.
When 50 people gathered on the edge of Hoan Kiem lake in the capital, they were rounded up and herded on to buses.
The crackdown comes days after Hanoi People's Committee called a halt to the protests, warning that the government would apply "necessary measures" against those who failed to comply.
The arrests on Sunday echo a similar crackdown on July 17, when 40 protesters were bundled into buses and driven to the police station where they were detained for several hours.
Report & Analysis: Vietnam Security Forces Detain Anti-China Protesters [Voice of America, 21 Aug 2011]