Vietnam: Ballroom dancers break up war protest

Protesters mark the 35th anniversary of the Sino-Vietnam war Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Protesters mark the 35th anniversary of the Sino-Vietnam war

Ballroom dancers and aerobics classes have popped up in the midst of an anti-China protest in Hanoi, Vietnam, in an apparent ploy by the government to break up the event.

Protesters say the dancers, who showed up with a loud sound system, were sent deliberately to stop them from getting close to a famous statue of nationalist icon Ly Thai To, where people planned to lay flowers and make speeches, the Voice of America reports.

Vietnam and China were involved in a month-long, inconclusive border conflict in 1979, which led to thousands of deaths. But since China is now Vietnam's biggest trading partner, some demonstrators claim the Vietnamese government does not want people to learn about the war.

"I came here today to acknowledge the real history," one marcher says. "I didn't learn anything at school about it. I didn't even know there was a war between the Vietnamese and Chinese at that time."

They also suspect the government sent dancers to disrupt the march because it did not want images of a direct confrontation appearing on social media. Around 70 people eventually left their floral tributes at a nearby pagoda and left the scene.

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