Vietnam’s President In Oslo

The Norwegian and Vietnamese flags flew side by side along Oslo’s main boulevard on Thursday, in honour of a state visit by the president of Vietnam. The visit featured plenty of pomp and some protests.
Norway’s King Harald and the president of Vietnam, Nguyen Minh Triet, reviewed the royal guards outside the palace in Oslo.
    Not everyone was pleased with the visit by Vietnam’s president. Human rights advocates protested near the palace.
    Many of the Vietnamese immigrants living in Norway fled the country after the communist government took over. No one from the Vietnamese community was present during welcoming ceremonies in front of the Royal Palace in Oslo.
    Rather, around 50 gathered just below the palace, and demonstrated against what they claim is a lack of human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam. The protesters and some of the Norwegian supporters believe Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet runs a country plagued by corruption and where dissidents are both harassed and jailed.
    That didn’t stop the Norwegian government and royalty from giving Nguyen and his wife Tran Thi Kim Chi a warm and colourful welcome. King Harald, Queen Sonja and Crown Princess Mette-Marit received them on a red carpet rolled out in front of the palace, while Crown Prince Haakon escorted the presidential couple from their hotel.
    After the official welcoming ceremony outside the palace, the president headed for the Norwegian parliament while Queen Sonja took his wife on a tour of Oslo’s new Opera House.
    After lunch at the palace, Nguyen laid a wreath at the Norwegian national monument near the Akershus Fortress and Castle. A state banquet for 200 guests at the palace was set for Thursday evening.
    The state visit was to end Friday with a cruise on the Oslo Fjord aboard the royal yacht Norge.

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