People take part in an anti-China protest to mark the 43th anniversary of the China's occupation of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea in Hanoi, Vietnam January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kham
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Vietnamese police Thursday scuffled with activists marking the 1974 Chinese invasion of a disputed island chain as they arrested several people and dispersed journalists.Though Hanoi and Beijing routinely trade barbs over contested territory in the South China Sea, Vietnam often breaks up anti-China protests to avoid stoking anger from regional powerhouse China.China has controlled the islands since invading them shortly after U.S.-backed Vietnamese soldiers withdrew in 1974 .In 2014 China moved a controversial oil rig into contested territory, prompting deadly riots in Vietnam.
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