A Vietnamese police officer uses a speaker to order pedestrians including journalists to leave a closed area near the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam on Sunday. Pic: AP.

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese authorities have forcibly broken up small protests against China in two cities.

Witnesses in southern Ho Chi Minh City say police dragged away several demonstrators from a park in the city center.

China deployed an oil rig to the disputed South China Sea on May 1, triggering fury in Vietnam.

Last Sunday, the authoritarian government allowed protests as way of registering its anger at China.

But riots on Tuesday and Wednesday that left two Chinese nationals dead and scores of factories trashed damaged investor confidence and spooked the government, which keeps a tight grip on society.