Hong Kong Pro­test­ers Defy Ban, Get in Fresh Clashes with Po­lice

Pro­test­ers lit fires, threw petrol bombs and at­tacked the par­lia­ment build­ing. A num­ber of peo­ple were later held as they fled into metro sta­tions.

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Hong Kong riot Po­lice have used tear gas, rub­ber bul­lets and wa­ter can­non to dis­perse crowds as tens of thou­sands marched in the city, defying a ban.

Of­fi­cers also fired live warn­ing shots as they tried to clear the streets.

Pro­test­ers lit fires, threw petrol bombs and at­tacked the par­lia­ment build­ing. A num­ber of peo­ple were later held as they fled into metro sta­tions.

Satur­day’s event to mark five years since China ruled out fully demo­cratic elec­tions was banned in Hong Kong.

Last Fri­day, sev­eral key pro-democ­racy ac­tivists and law­mak­ers in China’s spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion were ar­rested.

The protest move­ment grew out of ral­lies against a con­tro­ver­sial ex­tra­di­tion bill - now sus­pended - which would have al­lowed crim­i­nal sus­pects to be sent to main­land China for trial.

What hap­pened on Satur­day?

Pro­test­ers took to the streets in the Wan Chai dis­trict, many join­ing a Chris­tian march, while others demon­strated in the Cause­way Bay shop­ping dis­trict in the pour­ing rain. Many car­ried um­brel­las and wore face masks.

On the 13th week­end of protests, demon­stra­tors - chant­ing “stand with Hong Kong” and “fight for free­dom” - gath­ered out­side gov­ern­ment of­fices, the lo­cal head­quar­ters of China’s Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army and the city’s par­lia­ment, known as the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil.

In the Ad­mi­ralty dis­trict, some pro­test­ers threw fire bombs to­wards of­fi­cers. Ear­lier, pro­test­ers marched near the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of em­bat­tled leader Carrie Lam, who is the fo­cal point of much of the anger.

The riot Po­lice had erected bar­ri­ers around key build­ings and road blocks, and fired tear gas and jets of blue-dyed wa­ter from wa­ter can­non. The coloured liq­uid is tra­di­tion­ally used to make it eas­ier for Po­lice to iden­tify pro­test­ers.

The Po­lice later con­firmed that two of­fi­cers fired into the air dur­ing op­er­a­tions to clear pro­test­ers from the streets. Both of­fi­cers fired one shot each when they felt their lives were threat­ened, the Po­lice de­part­ment said.

Eric, a 22-year-old stu­dent, told

Reuters news agency: “Telling us not to protest is like telling us not to breathe. I feel it’s my duty to fight for democ­racy. Maybe we win, maybe we lose, but we fight.”

The re­cent demon­stra­tions have been char­ac­terised as lead­er­less. Last Fri­day Po­lice had ap­pealed to mem­bers of the pub­lic to cut ties with “vi­o­lent pro­test­ers” and had warned peo­ple not to take part in the banned march. Po­lice made a num­ber of ar­rests late on Satur­day.

Photo: AP

A pro­tester throws a smok­ing tear gas shell back at Po­lice of­fi­cers in Hong Kong on Au­gust 31, 2019.

Photo: Reuters

Peo­ple at­tend a protest in Hong Kong, China, on Au­gust 31, 2019.

Photo: AP

Pro­test­ers dur­ing clashes with Po­lice of­fi­cers in Hong Kong on Au­gust 31, 2019.

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