HONG KONG (Reuters) – Police fired tear fuel and rubber bullets whereas protesters hurled rocks throughout clashes in a rural Hong Kong city on Saturday as a number of thousand activists gathered to protest an assault by suspected triad gang members at a prepare station final weekend.
A demonstrator reacts to a tear fuel throughout a protest in opposition to the Yuen Lengthy assaults in Yuen Lengthy, New Territories, Hong Kong, China July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Activists pushed forward with the march in Yuen Lengthy, scene of the assault by club-wielding males, regardless of a refusal by police to permit the protest on security grounds.
Rocks and bottles have been thrown by protesters, who constructed barricades out of road furnishings and umbrellas, creating a number of stand-offs.
Police, extensively criticized for failing to raised defend the general public from final weekend’s assault, responded on Sunday with tear fuel, rubber bullets and sponge grenades, a crowd management weapon.
Whereas a whole lot of protesters left the world because it grew darkish. a number of hundred extra remained. Many have been armed with sticks and improvised shields made out of wooden, surf boards, cardboard and different supplies.
Earlier, Reuters witnesses noticed a tough core group of activists with small steel bats, steel and picket poles and slingshots transferring in opposition to the tide.
Final Sunday, about 100 white-shirted males stormed the Yuen Lengthy mass-transit station hours after protesters marched by way of central Hong Kong and defaced China’s Liaison Workplace – the principle image of Beijing’s authority over the previous British colony.
The lads attacked black-clad protesters coming back from Hong Kong island, passers-by, journalists and lawmakers with pipes and golf equipment, leaving 45 individuals injured. A number of the males later fled to Nam Pin Wai, a conventional walled village.
“We’re all ready for the white shirts to return out. In the event that they wish to combat us we’re prepared,” mentioned Harlem Lo, a protester sporting a black T-shirt, who stood his floor regardless of riot police makes an attempt to clear the world.
“We’ll get revenge for the beatings if they arrive out,” he mentioned.
On Sunday, a automobile was dented and its home windows smashed close to the village.
Police, thought-about gradual by protesters to reply final Sunday, turned a spotlight for Saturday’s march.
“They failed the general public,” Kevin, a protester in a purple T-shirt, mentioned of the police earlier within the afternoon, as he stood outdoors the police station, gripping its gates.
“They intentionally let the triads beat up protesters to get revenge on us … We’re right here to show them a lesson,” he mentioned, as he shouted an obscenity on the police.
Police mentioned on Sunday protesters used roadside fencing and different road furnishings to create roadblocks.
“Some hurled bricks and onerous objects at law enforcement officials and charged police cordon strains,” police added in an announcement.
The Yuen Lengthy assault and the vandalism on the Liaison Workplace marked new fronts in a protest motion that has intensified during the last two months.
The protests, thought-about probably the most direct problem to the authority of China’s President Xi Jinping, mushroomed on Friday as hundreds of activists thronged the arrivals halls of Hong Kong worldwide airport.
The protesters, initially demanding the scrapping of a invoice that may have allowed individuals to be despatched to mainland courts for trial, are actually additionally in search of unbiased inquiries into police use of pressure, the resignation of Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam and full democratic reform – anathema to Beijing’s Communist Celebration management.
The disaster is exposing fissures in Lam’s administration, with police chiefs and rank-and-file officers enraged at an apology over final weekend’s assaults by her chief secretary on Friday, apparently made with out session.
The official, Matthew Cheung, mentioned the federal government wouldn’t shirk its duty “and the police’s dealing with fell in need of residents’ expectations”.
Britain handed Hong Kong to China in 1997 amid ensures that its core freedoms and autonomy, together with the fitting to protest and an unbiased judiciary, can be protected beneath a “one nation, two techniques” formulation.
Many concern these rights are beneath risk as Beijing’s attain extends into the town.
Activists instructed Reuters they feared Saturday’s protest would flip violent, given anger among the many protesters over final Sunday’s violence and a willpower amongst some to problem villagers they consider are near triad teams within the space.
“We hope for a peaceable night time,” mentioned Neil, masked, in his mid-20s, standing subsequent to a buddy who was strapping on a tough hat. “We wish Yuen Lengthy to be secure and peaceable. However there nonetheless is likely to be bother so we’ve to be ready.”
A number of banks within the space didn’t open on Saturday and plenty of companies have been shuttered.
Reporting By Donny Kwok, James Pomfret, Greg Torode and Marius Zaharia; Writing by Jennifer Hughes and Greg Torode; Modifying by Mark Potter and Janet Lawrence