INCREASING VIOLENCE: Protest rocks Hong Kong
Hong Kong authorities stepped up security around the city’s main China representative office on Sunday as people began gathering for another protest, with anger simmering over what many demonstrators see as increasing cycle of violence against them.
Authorities said 11 people had been arrested on Saturday on various charges including assault, possession of offensive weapons and unlawful assembly in the northern district of Yuen Long, close to the border with China.
Saturday’s march, in defiance of a police ban, was held in Yuen Long to protest against an attack on protesters by suspected triad gang members at a train station the previous weekend.
But Saturday’s protest ended in similar scenes of violent chaos with squads of riot police moving in to disperse tens of thousands of activists, firing tear gas, rubber bullets and sponge grenades used in riot control.
Later, police stormed the same train station that had been the scene of the suspected gang attack the week before, beating protesters with batons, leaving some bloodied.
Hospital authorities said 24 people were injured, two seriously, on Saturday.
Thousands of protesters, many clad in black, assembled in a downtown park on Sunday, before beginning a march in defiance of police restrictions amid chants of “Black police. Shameful”.
Some held up banners saying: “We rise as one, we fight as one”, and “Stop violence”.
What began as a movement to oppose an extradition law that would have allowed people to be sent to China for trial, has taken on broader demands including the resignation of Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam, calls for full democracy and an independent inquiry into what some say has been excessive police force against protesters.
The protests are also one of the most direct challenges to the authority of China’s President Xi Jinping.