Po­lice show strength in deal­ing with ri­ot­ers

Con­flicts, clashes no way of solv­ing di­ver­gence: ex­pert

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Chen Qingqing and Wang Wen­wen in Hong Kong

Ri­ot­ers in Hong Kong on Sun­day turned anti-gov­ern­ment protests in Kowloon and Tsuen Wan into vi­o­lence for the 12th straight week­end which forced the po­lice to use wer can­nons for the first time since months-long protests to dis­perse il­le­gal ral­lies and main­tain or­der in the city.

Young pro­test­ers, who call them­selves “fight­ers for the city,” have not ceased push­ing the city into chaos, putting mil­lions of Hong Kong res­i­dents in dan­ger and con­tin­u­ing to sab­o­tage the peace­ful life of or­di­nary peo­ple in the city.

De­spite the gov­ern­ment’s call for di­a­logue, rad­i­cal pro­test­ers chose to in­ten­tion­ally ig­nore the sin­cer­ity of the gov­ern­ment.

Af­ter pro­test­ers de­vi­ated from the per­mit­ted route for demon­stra­tions, a group of black-clad pro­test­ers set up bar­ri­cades along Ye­ung Uk road, throw­ing petrol bombs to­ward po­lice of­fi­cers.

Around 5:30 po­lice an­nounced that wa­ter can­nons and ar­mored cars were ap­proach­ing and some of the pro­test­ers soon left.

When the wa­ter can­non ar­rived at Tex­aco Road, the po­lice first dis­persed re­porters. Then two wa­ter can­nons shot wa­ter at the bar­ri­cades, send­ing a shower of mist over the re­main­ing pro­test­ers.

While po­lice didn’t tar­get pro­test­ers with their wa­ter can­nons, many pro­test­ers fled as soon as the ve­hi­cles were de­ployed.

This is the first time po­lice have used a wa­ter can­non dur­ing a stand­off with pro­test­ers since the months-long protests be­gan, and it turned out to be an ef­fec­tive tool in their dis­per­sal op­er­a­tion.

Lo­cal res­i­dents ap­plauded the use of the wa­ter can­non, which re­flects an ad­just­ment in po­lice strate­gies in deal­ing with ri­ot­ers.

Politi­cians and leg­is­la­tors con­tinue to call for talks to work out di­ver­gences.

Car­rie Lam, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion (HKSAR) on Satur­day called for a halt to vi­o­lence and urged pro­test­ers to “sit down and talk” to find a way to end the vi­o­lent protests which have wrecked the city’s so­cial or­der over the last two months.

How­ever, the gov­ern­ment’s at­ti­tude of seek­ing a way out has not pre­vented rad­i­cal pro­test­ers from es­ca­lat­ing the vi­o­lence and in­ten­si­fy­ing the con­flict with the po­lice.

The HKSAR gov­ern­ment, in a Satur­day public no­tice, strongly con­demned the vi­o­lent acts of the pro­test­ers, which put passersby and lo­cal res­i­dents in dan­ger.

Ho Kai-ming, a leg­is­la­tor at the Kwun Tong Dis­trict Coun­cil, strongly con­demned Sun­day’s vi­o­lence seen in Kwun Tong, Wong Tai Sin and Sham Shui Po. “Af­ter the dis­per­sal op­er­a­tion, we had an in­spec­tion there and found that var­i­ous road fa­cil­i­ties have been van­dal­ized, and the piles of junks on the high­way could eas­ily trig­ger traf­fic ac­ci­dents,” he said.

Tang Fei, a mem­ber of the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong and Ma­cao Stud­ies, noted that the week­end’s vi­o­lence had two ob­jec­tives. “For one, they want to raise the eye­ball of the me­dia; [and] they want to cre­ate con­di­tions for their con­tin­ued so-call peace­ful protests, in­clud­ing school strikes.”

Vi­o­lence is vi­o­lence, which should end im­me­di­ately, Tang urged. “Tack­ling so­cial di­ver­gence can only be done through talks in a ra­tio­nal way.”

Hong Kong po­lice use wa­ter can­nons to dis­perse il­le­gal ral­lies for the first time on Sun­day in Tsuen Wan. Wa­ter was fired to­ward bar­ri­cades and the open space with­out tar­get­ing pro­test­ers.

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