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Vietnam PM orders trouble-free Torch relay

world Updated: Apr 21, 2008 11:34 IST

AFP
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Vietnam's premier has ordered authorities to ensure a trouble-free Olympic torch relay next week, warning that "hostile forces" may seek to disrupt the event, the main government website said on Monday.

The demand came amid reports on unofficial blogs that police last week questioned and detained activists linked to a series of anti-Chinese student protests last year over two disputed island chains in the South China Sea.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the weekend chaired a meeting with officials in southern Ho Chi Minh City, where the Olympic torch, dogged by pro-Tibet protesters elsewhere, arrives from Pyongyang on April 29.

Dung said that "although Vietnam's social security is stable, hostile forces always attempt to disrupt the stability and harm Vietnam's prestige and position in the international arena," according to the government website.

He ordered officials "to conduct the relay safely and solemnly, showing the patriotic, sports-loving and peace-loving spirit of the Vietnamese people and the Vietnam-China special friendship," the statement said.