More protests in Hong Kong against extradition bill

05, Aug. 2019

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HONG KONG, Kyodo - Two demonstrations were held in Hong Kong on Sunday in the latest round of a territory-wide effort to protest against the government's inaction over a now-suspended extradition bill and police use of force in dispersing protestors.

Tens of thousands of people marched in the residential area of Tseung Kwan O in the Kowloon Peninsula, while a rally was staged in Hong Kong Island's Western District.

“Corrupt cops, shame on you!” protesters chanted as they marched by a police station in Tseung Kwan O, located in the New Territories. “Hong Kong police know the laws and break the laws!”

Police locked the gate and stayed inside while recording video of the procession. Riot police were deployed briefly to disperse hardcore protestors vandalizing the police station.

The march's organizer said 150,000 people took part, while police put the turnout at 27,000 on scheduled the route.

The rally on Hong Kong Island was held at Belcher Bay Park, not far from the Central Government Liaison Office, Beijing's representative office in the territory, which was vandalized in earlier protests.

The office as well as a nearby police station in recent days beefed up their perimeters with tall barriers in case protesters headed there from the rally.

Hundreds of protesters left the rally and marched on towards the liaison office but were met by riot police blockading the roads. Rounds of tear gas were fired at the protesters, which succeeded in dispersing most of them.

Some moved on by subway to the shopping district of Causeway Bay, where they proceeded to block roads.

Meanwhile, the police said that 29 people were arrested for offences including unlawful assembly, assault, obstructing police and failing to present identity cards during a protest the night before in Kowloon's busy shopping district of Mongkok.

That protest culminated in a late night brawl in nearby Wong Tai Sin district, with police firing rounds of tear gas and pepper spray to disperse hundreds of people, protesters and residents included, who were protesting the alleged random arrests of bystanders.

Tear gas was also used in Mongkok, where hundreds of protestors occupied the major thoroughfare of Nathan Road, installing makeshift barricades and setting debris on fire on the road and outside the Tsim Sha Tsui police station.

A column in China's official Xinhua News Agency described as “sickened thugs” those responsible for removing a Chinese national flag from a pole in Mongkok and flinging it into Victoria Harbor.

Both the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council and the Liaison Office issued statements condemning the “handful of radical extremists” for insulting the national flag and challenging national sovereignty, and calling for serious punishment.

Protests have been held almost every weekend since June against the government's effort to amend a law that would allow the transfer of fugitives to mainland China and other jurisdictions.

Although Chief Executive Carrie Lam has suspended the legislative process in an attempt to restore calm, protesters are calling for the bill's full withdrawal.

Their demands have also grown to include greater democracy, the release of those arrested and an inquiry into alleged police misconduct.

Lam has been dodging most public appearances except for occasions where she has condemned violent protesters. (Kyodo)