Hong Kong po­lice dis­perse il­le­gal ral­lies

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Chen Qingqing in Hong Kong and Wang Wen­wen in Bei­jing

On another day of il­le­gal ral­lies in Hong Kong, po­lice on Sun­day fired tear gas to dis­perse the protesters who re­peat­edly ig­nored warn­ings and en­gaged in a stand­off with the po­lice near the li­ai­son of­fice of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Hong Kong.

Unau­tho­rized as­sem­bly also took place at other lo­ca­tions on Sun­day in­clud­ing Cause­way Bay and the Golden Bauhinia Square near the Hong Kong Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre in Wan Chai.

Ac­cord­ing to the web­site of the Hong Kong Po­lice Force, some pro­tes­tors com­mit­ted ar­son at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions on Sun­day, se­ri­ously threat­en­ing the safety of ev­ery­one. On Sun­day, po­lice ar­rested eight peo­ple at a metro sta­tion suspected of car­ry­ing of­fen­sive weapons. About 3 pm Sun­day, the protesters gathered at Chater Gar­den in the Cen­tral Dis­trict

as planned, but half an hour later they be­gan march­ing west in de­fi­ance of a po­lice order.

The po­lice warned protesters not to de­vi­ate from the planned route as they walked along Queensway and Hen­nessey Road to­ward Wan Chai, ob­struct­ing traf­fic.

At the pre­vi­ously bustling tourist hub of Hen­nessey Road, the Global Times re­porter saw that there were few tourists de­spite the stores be­ing open.

As more protesters gathered, the traf­fic in front of the Sogo Depart­ment Store was com­pletely ob­structed.

The re­peated tac­tic adopted by some rad­i­cal protesters in Hong Kong is that when the sun goes down, some protesters be­gin to build bar­ri­ers and wait for the po­lice.

On Sun­day evening, they adopted the same strat­egy in Cause­way Bay and She­ung Wan. Protesters stopped near the li­ai­son of­fice.

After the stand­off be­tween the po­lice and protesters for some time dur­ing which protesters hurl­ing bot­tles and stones to­ward the po­lice, the po­lice be­gan to grad­u­ally move for­ward.

“From us­ing um­brel­las and ba­tons to throw­ing paint bombs and can­is­ters, from mak­ing traf­fic ob­struc­tions to at­tack­ing the po­lice, protesters are up­grad­ing their vi­o­lent means,” Kennedy Wong Yingho, a Hong Kong lawyer and con­vener of Safe­guard HK, Sup­port the Sur­ren­der of Fugitive Of­fend­ers Leg­is­la­tion, told the Global Times.

The sit­u­a­tion was es­ca­lat­ing, Wong warned.

The Hong Kong po­lice acted in ac­cor­dance with reg­u­la­tions and in a re­strained man­ner on Sun­day, but about 8: 40 pm, protesters rushed out from an al­ley and threw bot­tles and bricks at the po­lice.

After re­peated warn­ings and con­stant provo­ca­tions, the po­lice started to dis­perse pro­tes­tors by fir­ing tear gas.

Dur­ing the protest on July 21, protesters broke a po­lice order and changed route.

Rad­i­cal ri­ot­ers be­sieged the li­ai­son of­fice of cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Hong Kong and de­faced the na­tional em­blem of China in the evening.

Two days of vi­o­lence

Sun­day’s stand­off was a con­tin­u­a­tion of Sat­ur­day’s, when protesters took to the street in Yuen Long, which de­scended into a stand­off and clash with po­lice.

Hong Kong po­lice Thurs­day de­nied per­mis­sion for a protest in Yuen Long on Sat­ur­day, cit­ing pos­si­ble vi­o­lence which might threaten the safety of vil­lagers and res­i­dents.

The demon­stra­tion was meant as re­venge for the vi­o­lence that took place at a sub­way sta­tion in Yuen Long on July 21.

Protesters pro­voked the po­lice by throw­ing um­brel­las and bot­tles, ram­ming bar­ri­cades and cor­ner­ing them at an in­ter­sec­tion.

The mob tried to use bar­ri­cades to push back the po­lice who were out­num­bered by the protesters. Even­tu­ally, the po­lice used tear gas to dis­perse protesters.

The Hong Kong SAR gov­ern­ment strongly con­demned rad­i­cal pro­tes­tors for breach­ing the pub­lic peace and break­ing the law de­lib­er­ately dur­ing the Yuen Long protest.

The gov­ern­ment said the po­lice would take se­ri­ous fol­lowup ac­tion with the vi­o­lent pro­tes­tors, ac­cord­ing to the Xin­hua News Agency.

Western media tar­geted the po­lice and tried to smear their role in the Global Times re­porter’s opin­ion.

Western and Hong Kong media have blamed the po­lice for their al­leged bru­tal­ity against protesters, but de­lib­er­ately ig­nored pro­tes­tors’ vi­o­lent provo­ca­tion.

Po­lice have also borne the pres­sure of res­i­dents who think they acted too slowly to pro­tect pub­lic se­cu­rity.

On Fri­day US Con­gress­man Eliot L. En­gel crit­i­cized po­lice vi­o­lence, say­ing it “tar­nished Hong Kong’s in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for good gov­er­nance and the fair ad­min­is­tra­tion of justice.”

A spokesper­son for the Of­fice of China’s For­eign Min­istry in Hong Kong on Sun­day re­buked En­gel’s re­marks, say­ing he was telling a slan­der­ous “bare-faced lie.”

“Any­one with­out prej­u­dice will ad­mit that Hong Kong po­lice have ex­er­cised enor­mous re­straint and shown their pro­fes­sion­al­ism when deal­ing with vi­o­lence and provo­ca­tion by the mob,” ac­cord­ing to the spokesper­son.

Wang Dan, an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor from the Fac­ulty of Ed­u­ca­tion, Hong Kong Univer­sity, told the Global Times that there were not many prece­dents for Hong Kong po­lice us­ing tear gas, but ob­jec­tively speaking in his opin­ion, they ex­er­cised great re­straint.

“Most times dur­ing the protests, the po­lice aimed to dis­perse them and guard their line of de­fense,” said Wang.

“Com­pare that to what the po­lice in the US, Canada, Aus­tralia and the UK did in the face of such sit­u­a­tions, such as when Oc­cupy Wall Street oc­curred – what the Hong Kong po­lice did is much milder,”ac­cord­ing to Wang.

As the pro­tes­tors clashed with po­lice in Yuen Long on Sat­ur­day, Chinese main­land in­ter­net users took to so­cial media to show their sup­port for the po­lice.

Po­lice of­fi­cers help a trapped car among protesters dur­ing a demon­stra­tion in Hong Kong on Sun­day.

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