A protester throws a tear gas canister which was fired by riot police during a protest in Hong Kong, Sunday, July 28, 2019. Police fired tear gas at protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday for the second night in a row in another escalation of weeks-long pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (Ring Yu/HK01 via AP)

A protester throws a tear gas canister which was fired by riot police during a protest in Hong Kong, Sunday, July 28, 2019. Police fired tear gas at protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday for the second night in a row in another escalation of weeks-long pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. (Ring Yu/HK01 via AP)

Police fire tear gas as Hong Kong protesters block roads

Hong Kong has been wracked by protests for seven weeks,

Police fired tear gas at protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday for the second night in a row in another escalation of weeks-long pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Protesters occupied two areas at opposite ends of central Hong Kong following a mid-afternoon rally against police use of tear gas the previous Sunday.

As night fell, one group that had blocked a road near the Chinese government’s liaison office began to move forward. The police issued warnings, and protesters were seen throwing eggs at them. Officers fired tear gas to halt the advance.

Protesters had rallied earlier at a park in Hong Kong’s financial district before marching out in several directions despite not winning police approval for a public procession. It was the second straight day that protesters took to the streets without official permission.

A sea of black-shirted protesters, some with bright yellow helmets and masks but many with just backpacks, streamed out of Chater Garden park. Chanting “Add oil,” a phrase that roughly means “Keep up the fight,” a huge crowd marched east down a wide thoroughfare in what has become a summer of protest in the city.

They stopped near the Sogo department store and set up barricades to block off the area and defend it against police.

Another group headed west toward mainland China’s liaison office. Protesters egged the office last weekend and splattered black ink on the national emblem, eliciting an angry reaction from the Chinese government.

They stopped about two blocks short of the office and used orange and white construction barricades to build a wall spanning a major road. They massed behind the barriers as night fell, with umbrellas pointed forward to shield their identities and ward off any police move to clear them.

Some nearby stores shuttered early as police in riot gear gathered nearby ahead of the all but inevitable clearing operation.

Hong Kong has been wracked by protests for seven weeks, as opposition to an extradition bill has morphed into demands for the resignation of the city’s leader and an investigation into whether police have used excessive force in quelling the protests.

READ MORE: Police launch tear gas as Hong Kong protest turns violent

Underlying the movement is a broader push for full democracy in the territory. The city’s leader is chosen by a committee dominated by a pro-Beijing establishment, rather than by direct elections.

The rally in Chater Garden was called to protest the police use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other force to break up a protest the previous Sunday.

“We need to have a protest to show that we are strongly against this kind of brutality and we need them to respond to our demands,” said rally organizer Ventus Lau.

Police had denied Lau’s request to march west to the Sheung Wan district, where the tear gas was used the previous weekend, citing escalating violence in clashes with protesters that have broken out after past marches and rallies.

“The police must prevent aggressive protesters from exploiting a peaceful procession to cause troubles and violent clashes,” said Superintendent Louis Lau of the police public relations branch.

On Saturday, clashes between protesters and police led to 11 arrests and left at least two dozen injured in an outlying district toward the border with mainland China.

The police had also denied permission for that march in Yuen Long, where a mob apparently targeting demonstrators had beaten people brutally in a train station the previous weekend.

Protesters and police faced off in the streets well into the night, as they’ve done repeatedly during the summer’s pro-democracy protests.

Police said protesters removed fences from roads to make their own roadblocks and charged police lines with metal poles. One group surrounded and vandalized a police vehicle, causing danger to officers on board, a police statement said.

Officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets as demonstrators threw bricks and other objects and ducked behind makeshift shields.

Later, police wearing helmets charged into the train station, where a few hundred protesters had taken refuge from the tear gas. Some officers swung their batons at demonstrators, while others appeared to be urging their colleagues to hang back. For the second week in a row, blood was splattered on the station floor.

Police arrested 13 people, including march organizer Max Chung, for offences including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapon and assault, according to police and Hong Kong media. At least four officers were injured.

The Hospital Authority said 24 people were taken to five hospitals. As of Sunday morning, eight remained hospitalized, two in serious condition.

Amnesty International, the human rights group, called the police response heavy-handed and unacceptable.

“While police must be able to defend themselves, there were repeated instances today where police officers were the aggressors,” Man-kei Tam, the director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said in a statement.

Police said they had to use what they termed “appropriate force” because of the bricks and other objects thrown at them, including glass bottles with a suspected corrosive fluid inside.

___

Associated Press writer Ken Moritsugu in Beijing contributed to this report.

Katie Tam And Chanwoo Bang, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

The administrative headquarters for the Central Okanagan Public Schools. (File photo)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at 2 Central Okanagan Schools

The infected individuals are self-isolating at home

Farming Karma is set to release a line of fruit vodka sodas soon. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna fruit growers expanding line of beverages

Farming Karma is expanding from fruit sodas to fruit vodka sodas

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

18-year-old skier Logan Leach follows his guide, Julien Petit, down an alpine track. The Lumby athlete who is visually impaired has been named to Alpine Canada’s Ski Team ahead of the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (Contributed)
North Okanagan teen named to national Para-Alpine ski team

18-year-old Logan Leach officially joins Canada’s Para-Alpine roster ahead of Beijing 2022

Carina Stokes, bar manager at Enderby’s Small Axe Bistro, was recognized as one of four exceptional B.C. restaurant workers by the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Okanagan bar manager recognized as ‘stand-up’ B.C. restaurant worker

Small Axe Roadhouse’s Carina Stokes one of four to receive special recognition from the BCRFA

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Most Read