Vietnamese people have been urged to welcome the Olympic torch
when it arrives in this southern city for the last international
stop on its often turbulent global tour, a sports officials said
The Vietnam leg of the torch relay was to begin Tuesday
outside Ho Chi Minh City's 19th century opera hall, but
authorities have not revealed the relay's route, apparently for
In recent days, Vietnamese students have used websites and
blogs to call for protests against China's claim to the disputed
Spratlys islands. The islets in the South China Sea are claimed
by Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
The torch is due to arrive late Monday from North Korea.
Human rights groups and pro-Tibet activists have protested and
in some cases disrupted the flame's monthlong journey around the
world. Large groups of patriotic Chinese have turned out to
welcome the torch.
"We are aware of the incidents with the Beijing Olympic torch
relay in some cities that the torch has traveled to," Nguyen
Hoang Nang, the director of Ho Chi Minh's sports department, told
"We have encouraged our Ho Chi Minh City people, those who love peace and respect the spirit of sport, to support this torch
On Thursday, authorities expelled an American citizen of
Vietnamese origin who allegedly planned to disrupt the relay,
state media reported. The report said several T-shirts with anti-
Olympic Beijing slogans were found in his luggage upon his
arrival in Ho Chi Minh City.
After Vietnam, the torch travels to the Chinese territories of
Hong Kong and Macao. It will then begin a journey around China.