Hundreds of Vietnamese took to the streets in Hong Kong and Austria to protest China’s illegal territorial claims in the East Sea (a.k.a the South China Sea) on Sunday.
About 40 protesters dressed in Vietnamese navy, army and traditional ao dai marched from the Hong Kong government headquarters in Tamar Park, Admiralty Centre, to the China Resources Building in Wan Chai, where the Commissioner's Office of the Foreign Ministry is located, the South China Morning Post reported.
The protesters carried Vietnamese flags, portraits of President Ho Chi Minh and banners reading "China, stop threatening Vietnam's maritime police" and "Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) belong to Vietnam."
They also played the Vietnamese national anthem and military tunes on loudspeakers.
"We want to tell everyone that the islands belong to Vietnam," protest organizer and longtime Hong Kong resident Annie Mo Pak-fung told the South China Morning Post. "The Chinese government has been very arrogant and aggressive, and all we want is peace in our territorial waters."
Vietnamese women in traditional ao dai stage a protest against China's illegal territorial claims in Hong Kong on July 6. Photo credit: South China Morning Post
According to the South China Morning Post, the first Vietnamese protest over the islands held in Hong Kong took place in May after the first oil rig (Haiyang Shiyou-981) was mobilized on May 2. Subsequent protests were held throughout June.
During the annual June 4 vigil, hundreds of Vietnamese people gathered at Stephansplatz – a square at the geographical centre of Vienna, Austria's capitol – to stage a protest against China’s illegal deployment of the Haiyang Shiyou-981 rig deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The group peacefully marched through major streets, hoisting national flags and placards displaying slogans in multiple languages that demanded China respect international law and withdraw its oil rig from Vietnamese waters.
They prominently displayed two enormous maps documenting China’s illegal trespass in the East Sea and distributed over 500 maps of Vietnam, asserting Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands.