HK pro­test­ers ram­page as po­lice call for cur­few

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

HONG KONG (Reuters) — Hong Kong demon­stra­tors clashed with po­lice into the early hours of Thurs­day, throw­ing petrol bombs and vent­ing their anger over the shoot­ing of a teenager ear­lier in the week, as months of anti-gov­ern­ment protests showed no sign of let­ting up.

Po­lice urged the gov­ern­ment to im­pose cur­fews to help curb the es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence in the Chi­nese-ruled city, where of­fi­cers have be­come a tar­get of pro­test­ers amid ac­cu­sa­tions of ex­ces­sive force.

Ac­tivists went on the ram­page in dis­tricts across the Asian fi­nan­cial hub late into the night, set­ting fires, block­ing roads and van­dal­iz­ing shops and metro sta­tions as po­lice fired tear gas to dis­perse them.

“Wher­ever there are protests nearby I’ll come … I’m out tonight for a sim­ple rea­son. You don’t shoot a teenager at point blank range,” said Alex Chan, an in­te­rior de­signer at a protest in the bustling shop­ping district of Cause­way Bay.

“These protests will con­tinue and we won’t give up.”

Thou­sands took to the streets on Wed­nes­day to de­nounce the shoot­ing by po­lice of an 18-year-old sec­ondary-school stu­dent, which po­lice said was an act of self-de­fense.

The stu­dent was shot at point-blank range as he fought a po­lice of­fi­cer with a metal pipe on Tues­day, when demon­stra­tors hurled petrol bombs at po­lice who re­sponded with tear gas, rub­ber bul­lets and wa­ter can­non.

Rail op­er­a­tor MTR Corp closed sta­tions in dis­tricts in­clud­ing Po Lam, Hang Hau and Tse­ung Kwan O just be­fore mid­night on Wed­nes­day as vi­o­lence es­ca­lated once again. All af­fected sta­tions had re­opened later Thurs­day.

Lam Chi-wai, chair­man of Ju­nior Po­lice Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion, urged the city’s leader to im­pose a cur­few to main­tain public or­der, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased on Wed­nes­day.

“We are only an en­force­ment agency with lim­ited power un­der the law. When fac­ing such a series of mas­sive ri­ot­ing in­ci­dents, we can­not work alone — clap­ping only with one hand — with­out ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures and support from top level,” Lam said.

The Hong Kong public has be­come in­creas­ingly hos­tile to­wards po­lice amid ac­cu­sa­tions of heavy-handed tac­tics. Po­lice say they have shown re­straint in the face of in­creased vi­o­lence.

The lawyer for an In­done­sian jour­nal­ist in­jured when po­lice fired a pro­jec­tile dur­ing protests on Sun­day said she will be left blind in one eye.

The for­mer Bri­tish colony has been rocked by months of protests over a now-with­drawn ex­tra­di­tion bill that would have al­lowed peo­ple to be sent to main­land China for trial, but have evolved into calls for democ­racy, among other de­mands.

Reuters-Yon­hap

Anti-gov­ern­ment pro­test­ers gather dur­ing a demon­stra­tion in­side a mall in Sha Tin district in sol­i­dar­ity with the stu­dent pro­tester who got shot by po­lice with live am­mu­ni­tion in Hong Kong, China, Wed­nes­day.

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