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Olympic Torch Completes Relay in Vietnam


The Olympic torch has completed its relay through Vietnam's largest city, ending the international leg of its journey.

Hundreds cheered as the Olympic flame paraded through Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday, where authorities tightened security to guard against any possible anti-China protests.

The event was largely peaceful and protest-free as China's communist ally Vietnam had promised. Witnesses say several anti-Chinese protesters were arrested following a small rally.

The flame only had one minor glitch when it went out briefly, less than 200 meters from the start. It was quickly reignited.

The torch has faced persistent protests as it has trekked across the globe and relays have ignited protests over Beijing's human rights record and its crackdown on recent unrest in Tibet and other Tibetan regions of China.

In some countries, Chinese who live overseas have staged large counter protests, and at times clashes with anti-China protesters have been violent.

During Sunday's relay in South Korea, thousands of Chinese students threw stones, bottles and other objects at human rights activists protesting China's deportation of North Korean refugees, who face stiff punishment or execution for fleeing the North.

Tuesday, the South Korean government said that Chinese protesters who were involved in violence will be subject to prosecution and that those found guilty will be deported.

China's foreign ministry said the students acted to protect the dignity of the torch. After Vietnam, the torch is headed for Hong Kong and Macau.

Hong Kong Tuesday blocked three foreign pro-Tibet protesters from entering the city, the second such instance ahead of the Olympic torch's arrival there on Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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