Hong Kong Protest: Police Fire Tear Gas for 2nd Straight Day as Marchers Rally

HONG KONG — For the second day in a row, thousands of people rallied on Sunday in Hong Kong to protest against what they say is police brutality against peaceful marchers. And for the second consecutive day, the police fired tear gas at the throngs.

The day before, riot police officers had unleashed pepper spray and rubber bullets and clashed briefly with demonstrators in a train station. On Sunday, clashes erupted near the Chinese government’s representative office in the territory.

The police fired several rounds of tear gas about 7 p.m. and charged protesters, sending hundreds of bystanders who were watching nearby scrambling for shelter. Groups of riot police officers with clubs chased black-clad protesters down alley ways in the dense urban district.

“I am really shocked,” said Isaac Chan, a lawyer who lives near the liaison office, saying he was upset about the police response and the use of tear gas.

Mr. Chan, 36, said he supported the protesters but had not participated in any demonstrations. “It is complete violence by the police,” he said. “Ridiculous.”

This was the third straight weekend that violent clashes have broken out since the demonstrations began nearly two months ago over an unpopular extradition bill, since shelved, that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. Since then, the demonstrations have grown into almost daily public displays of vitriol against the police and Hong Kong’s leaders.

Before the protest on Sunday, workers erected barriers around the liaison office and glued down nearby pavement stones to prevent them from being dug up and hurled by protesters.

But after gathering in Chater Garden in Central, thousands of protesters defied expectations by marching in the opposite direction of the liaison office. No police officers were seen until the crowd reached police headquarters, where a handful of officers appeared behind barriers as hundreds of protesters shouted slogans outside.

The protesters filled Hennessy Road, the center of a major shopping district in the Causeway Bay district, and began building barriers from sidewalk railings. Hundreds more went to the liaison office about three miles away, where they faced off against riot police officers defending the building.

The police warned onlookers to leave the area for their own safety, but hundreds stood in the streets near the lines of police officers and protesters.

Prohibitions on protests are generally rare in Hong Kong, but they have been used with increasing frequency in recent days as the authorities try to contain a turbulent protest movement.

A few demonstrations this spring against a government plan, since shelved, that would allow extraditions to mainland China have grown into almost daily public displays of vitriol against the police and Hong Kong’s leaders. The demands include an expansion of direct elections and an independent investigation into police use of force.

Weeks of protests have also exacerbated divisions between government leaders and some of the rank-and-file police officers assigned to confrontational protests. Police associations denounced the No. 2 official in Hong Kong, Matthew Cheung, after he apologized on Friday for the authorities’ failure to stop the Yuen Long attack.

Source link Breaking News

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