Hong Kong police release tear gas as protests turn violent

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Hong Kong police used water cannon and fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse anti-government protesters who threw stones at troops, smashed windows at government offices and blocked a main road near the headquarters of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Hong Kong.

A series of demonstrations in the city, including pro- and anti-CPC rulers, are scheduled to take place in Beijing ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday.

Many protesters wore black masks and jackets, sheltered in their umbrellas after police opened water cannons and fled when protests turned into violent clashes with police, which has become common for the past three months.

Protesters smashed windows of government offices and tried to break into them, chanting obscene words, drawing slogans on the front of their shoes and pointing laser lights at a helicopter flying overhead.

“A large group of violent protesters occupy the Harcourt road,” police said in a statement. They also threw stones at police officers. Their actions pose a serious threat to everyone in this place. ”

The protesters later headed west towards the central area, which is full of tourists and businesses.

On the narrow streets of high-rise buildings, shops for major brands, banks, jewelery shops and other shops have closed, but the situation seems calm.

Wrangling was heard between residents and police during arrests in the Causeway Bay commercial area east of the Central district, but without violent clashes.

Thousands of youths and elders gathered peacefully in a park adjacent to the port to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the pro-democracy “parachute” protests that caused road closures for 79 days in 2014. One band played Beatles while violence erupted.

The park is in front of the central government headquarters and the legislature and both were attacked before street clashes with police.

Anti-government protesters attacked the legislature and Beijing’s main liaison office, occupied the airport, threw police with petrol bombs, vandalized subway stations and set fire to the streets.

Police responded with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets, sometimes firing live bullets into the air.

The public transport system, MTR, shut down some metro stations on Saturday to prevent renewed clashes.

“We know that they will not listen to us if we gather peacefully because we don’t (communicate together) at the same level,” one pro-democracy protester defended their use of violence.

Protesters spent the afternoon rebuilding Lennon Walls with anti-government graffiti, which pro-Beijing activists removed, some of them over the weekend.

Two weeks ago, protesters appealed to Britain to rein in China and ensure it respects freedoms in the city. They plan to demand it again on Tuesday.

Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure that China complies with the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. But it also wants closer trade and investment cooperation with China when it leaves the European Union at the end of October.


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