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Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 16:23 UK

Olympic torch tours Ho Chi Minh

Torch bearer runs through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City
Thousands turned out to cheer the torch through the streets

The Olympic torch has toured Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on the final international stop of its world relay.

There were cheers from thousands of onlookers as the parade passed by - marking the end of a global tour dogged by protests against China.

Many of the supporters were flag-waving Chinese citizens, who are either working or studying in Vietnam.

The torch's next stop is Hong Kong, where it begins the domestic leg of the relay.

'PR disaster'

Security for the Vietnam relay had been stepped up after threats from activists to demonstrate against China's claim to the disputed Spratly Islands - a South China Sea archipelago thought to have oil and gas reserves.

And in the capital, Hanoi, police detained several people after they unfurled an anti-China banner in a market and called for the Olympics to be boycotted, according to witnesses.

The authorities stationed dozens of security police outside the Chinese embassy, blocking the way to the building.

China and Vietnam have strong economic ties and large-scale protests linked to Tibet were not expected.

International protests have turned the torch's celebratory tour of 20 countries into what analysts describe as a public-relations disaster for Beijing.

Demonstrations in Athens, London, Paris and San Francisco have dominated media coverage of the relay.

But the flame has made relatively peaceful progress through other cities, including Bangkok in Thailand and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.


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