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Hong Kong protests: police arrest more than 20 after violent clashes Hong Kong protests: police arrest more than 20 after violent clashes
(8 days later)
Demonstrators in Hong Kong have clashed with riot police as the city entered its third consecutive day of mass protests.Demonstrators in Hong Kong have clashed with riot police as the city entered its third consecutive day of mass protests.
On Sunday, the police said they had arrested 20 people during Saturday’s clashes for offences including unlawful assembly and assault.On Sunday, the police said they had arrested 20 people during Saturday’s clashes for offences including unlawful assembly and assault.
Police fired teargas and pepper spray, and pinned protesters to the ground after tense standoffs in at least four locations throughout the city on Saturday evening, following a peaceful march earlier in the day.Police fired teargas and pepper spray, and pinned protesters to the ground after tense standoffs in at least four locations throughout the city on Saturday evening, following a peaceful march earlier in the day.
Thousands of protesters attending an anti-government march in Mong Kok deviated from a pre-approved route and occupied main roads in Kowloon, where they built barricades out of dismantled metal traffic barriers, handed out gas masks and helmets, and prepared to face off against police.Thousands of protesters attending an anti-government march in Mong Kok deviated from a pre-approved route and occupied main roads in Kowloon, where they built barricades out of dismantled metal traffic barriers, handed out gas masks and helmets, and prepared to face off against police.
In Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular shopping district where protesters had gathered to evade the police, authorities fired multiple rounds of teargas outside a police station after demonstrators had thrown rubbish and traffic cones into the compound. Protesters, protecting themselves with plastic traffic barriers and construction panels, eventually retreated to a nearby university.In Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular shopping district where protesters had gathered to evade the police, authorities fired multiple rounds of teargas outside a police station after demonstrators had thrown rubbish and traffic cones into the compound. Protesters, protecting themselves with plastic traffic barriers and construction panels, eventually retreated to a nearby university.
The police said in a statement that protesters had hurled bricks into the station and set fire to objects outside it. Police were also seen subduing demonstrators outside a police station in Mong Kok by forcing them on the ground. Photos showed demonstrators bleeding.The police said in a statement that protesters had hurled bricks into the station and set fire to objects outside it. Police were also seen subduing demonstrators outside a police station in Mong Kok by forcing them on the ground. Photos showed demonstrators bleeding.
The protests were triggered by a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the Communist party controls the courts, but have since evolved into a broader pro-democracy movement.The protests were triggered by a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the Communist party controls the courts, but have since evolved into a broader pro-democracy movement.
Public anger – fuelled by the aggressive tactics used by the police against demonstrators – has collided with years of frustration over worsening inequality and the cost of living in one of the world's most expensive, densely populated cities.Public anger – fuelled by the aggressive tactics used by the police against demonstrators – has collided with years of frustration over worsening inequality and the cost of living in one of the world's most expensive, densely populated cities.
The protest movement was given fresh impetus on 21 July when gangs of men attacked protesters and commuters at a mass transit station – while authorities seemingly did little to intervene. The protest movement was given fresh impetus on 21 July when gangs of men attacked protesters and commuters at a mass transit station – while authorities seemingly did little to intervene. 
Underlying the movement is a push for full democracy in the city, whose leader is chosen by a committee dominated by a pro-Beijing establishment rather than by direct elections.Underlying the movement is a push for full democracy in the city, whose leader is chosen by a committee dominated by a pro-Beijing establishment rather than by direct elections.
Protesters have vowed to keep their movement going until their core demands are met, such as the resignation of the city's leader, Carrie Lam, an independent inquiry into police tactics, an amnesty for those arrested and a permanent withdrawal of the bill. Protesters have vowed to keep their movement going until their core demands are met, such as the resignation of the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, an independent inquiry into police tactics, an amnesty for those arrested and a permanent withdrawal of the bill.
Hongkongers have seen Beijing’s influence grow in recent years, as activists have been jailed and pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from running or holding office. Independent booksellers have disappeared from the city, before reappearing in mainland China facing charges. Beijing’s influence over Hong Kong has grown in recent years, as activists have been jailed and pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from running or holding office. Independent booksellers have disappeared from the city, before reappearing in mainland China facing charges.
Under the terms of the agreement by which the former British colony was returned to Chinese control in 1997, the semi-autonomous region was meant to maintain a “high degree of autonomy” through an independent judiciary, a free press and an open market economy, a framework known as “one country, two systems”.Under the terms of the agreement by which the former British colony was returned to Chinese control in 1997, the semi-autonomous region was meant to maintain a “high degree of autonomy” through an independent judiciary, a free press and an open market economy, a framework known as “one country, two systems”.
The extradition bill was seen as an attempt to undermine this and to give Beijing the ability to try pro-democracy activists under the judicial system of the mainland.The extradition bill was seen as an attempt to undermine this and to give Beijing the ability to try pro-democracy activists under the judicial system of the mainland.
Lam has shown no sign of backing down beyond agreeing to suspend the extradition bill, while Beijing has issued increasingly shrill condemnations but has left it to the city's semi-autonomous government to deal with the situation. Meanwhile police have violently clashed directly with protesters, repeatedly firing teargas and rubber bullets.Lam has shown no sign of backing down beyond agreeing to suspend the extradition bill, while Beijing has issued increasingly shrill condemnations but has left it to the city's semi-autonomous government to deal with the situation. Meanwhile police have violently clashed directly with protesters, repeatedly firing teargas and rubber bullets.
Beijing has ramped up its accusations that foreign countries are “fanning the fire” of unrest in the city. China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi has ordered the US to “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form”.Beijing has ramped up its accusations that foreign countries are “fanning the fire” of unrest in the city. China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi has ordered the US to “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form”.
Lily Kuo and Verna Yu in Hong KongLily Kuo and Verna Yu in Hong Kong
The demonstrations, which began in early June over a proposal to allow extradition to China, have taken on new demands and gained momentum after a violent attack on commuters by suspected triad gangs earlier this month. Residents, opposition lawmakers and protesters have accused the police and government of colluding with the triads to suppress the demonstrations, allegations that Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has denied.The demonstrations, which began in early June over a proposal to allow extradition to China, have taken on new demands and gained momentum after a violent attack on commuters by suspected triad gangs earlier this month. Residents, opposition lawmakers and protesters have accused the police and government of colluding with the triads to suppress the demonstrations, allegations that Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has denied.
In a separate incident, hundreds of residents and demonstrators surrounded police in Wang Tai Sin, a district in New Kowloon, late into the night, where protesters threw helmets and umbrellas at police and demanded they release protesters believed held there. Residents called the police “black society”, a term to refer to gangsters, and chanted: “Hong Kong police, breaking the law!”In a separate incident, hundreds of residents and demonstrators surrounded police in Wang Tai Sin, a district in New Kowloon, late into the night, where protesters threw helmets and umbrellas at police and demanded they release protesters believed held there. Residents called the police “black society”, a term to refer to gangsters, and chanted: “Hong Kong police, breaking the law!”
As clashes continued into the early morning on Sunday, demonstrators yelled at police who pepper-sprayed and fired several rounds of teargas on the group, many of them residents who were not wearing masks or other protective equipment.As clashes continued into the early morning on Sunday, demonstrators yelled at police who pepper-sprayed and fired several rounds of teargas on the group, many of them residents who were not wearing masks or other protective equipment.
Earlier in the evening, demonstrators also blocked the entrance to Hong Kong’s cross-harbour tunnel and removed a Chinese flag from a pier and threw it into the sea. A government spokesman condemned protesters for “challenging national sovereignty” while former chief executive CY Leung offered HK$1 million (almost $128,000) to anyone with information about the protesters who damaged the flag.Earlier in the evening, demonstrators also blocked the entrance to Hong Kong’s cross-harbour tunnel and removed a Chinese flag from a pier and threw it into the sea. A government spokesman condemned protesters for “challenging national sovereignty” while former chief executive CY Leung offered HK$1 million (almost $128,000) to anyone with information about the protesters who damaged the flag.
On Saturday, thousands also attended a rival rally held in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, in support of the police and the government.On Saturday, thousands also attended a rival rally held in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, in support of the police and the government.
As the city enters its ninth week of protests, tensions are escalating as Hong Kong authorities have arrested people attending unsanctioned protests and Beijing has also issued increasingly stern threats, hinting at possible military intervention.As the city enters its ninth week of protests, tensions are escalating as Hong Kong authorities have arrested people attending unsanctioned protests and Beijing has also issued increasingly stern threats, hinting at possible military intervention.
The protests pose the most serious challenge to China’s authority over the city since 1997, when it was returned from British to Chinese control. On Thursday, Chen Daoxiang, the head of the Chinese army garrison in Hong Kong, said the military was “determined to protect [the] national sovereignty” of Hong Kong and would help put down the “intolerable” unrest if requested. The army released a promotional video showing tanks and soldiers firing on citizens in an anti-riot drill.The protests pose the most serious challenge to China’s authority over the city since 1997, when it was returned from British to Chinese control. On Thursday, Chen Daoxiang, the head of the Chinese army garrison in Hong Kong, said the military was “determined to protect [the] national sovereignty” of Hong Kong and would help put down the “intolerable” unrest if requested. The army released a promotional video showing tanks and soldiers firing on citizens in an anti-riot drill.
1 July 1997: Hong Kong, previously a British colony, is returned to China under the framework of “one country, two systems”. The “Basic Law” constitution guarantees to protect, for the next 50 years, the democratic institutions that make Hong Kong distinct from Communist-ruled mainland China. 1 July 1997: Hong Kong, previously a British colony, is returned to China under the framework of “one country, two systems”. The “Basic Law” constitution guarantees to protect, for the next 50 years, the democratic institutions that make Hong Kong distinct from Communist-ruled mainland China. 
2003: Hong Kong’s leaders introduce legislation that would forbid acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government. The bill resembles laws used to charge dissidents on the mainland. An estimated half a million people turn out to protest against the bill. As a result of the backlash, further action on the proposal is halted. 2003: Hong Kong’s leaders introduce legislation that would forbid acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government. The bill resembles laws used to charge dissidents on the mainland. An estimated half a million people turn out to protest against the bill. As a result of the backlash, further action on the proposal is halted. 
2007: The Basic Law stated that the ultimate aim was for Hong Kong’s voters to achieve a complete democracy, but China decides in 2007 that universal suffrage in elections for the chief executive cannot be implemented until 2017. Some lawmakers are chosen by business and trade groups, while others are elected by vote. In a bid to accelerate a decision on universal suffrage, five lawmakers resign. But this act is followed by the adoption of the Beijing-backed electoral changes, which expand the chief executive’s selection committee and add more seats for lawmakers elected by direct vote. The legislation divides Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp, as some support the reforms while others say they will only delay full democracy while reinforcing a structure that favors Beijing. 2007: The Basic Law stated that the ultimate aim was for Hong Kong’s voters to achieve a complete democracy, but China decides in 2007 that universal suffrage in elections for the chief executive cannot be implemented until 2017. Some lawmakers are chosen by business and trade groups, while others are elected by vote. In a bid to accelerate a decision on universal suffrage, five lawmakers resign. But this act is followed by the adoption of the Beijing-backed electoral changes, which expand the chief executive’s selection committee and add more seats for lawmakers elected by direct vote. The legislation divides Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp, as some support the reforms while others say they will only delay full democracy while reinforcing a structure that favors Beijing. 
2014: The Chinese government introduces a bill allowing Hong Kong residents to vote for their leader in 2017, but with one major caveat: the candidates must be approved by Beijing. Pro-democracy lawmakers are incensed by the bill, which they call an example of “fake universal suffrage” and “fake democracy”. The move triggers a massive protest as crowds occupy some of Hong Kong’s most crowded districts for 70 days. In June 2015, Hong Kong legislators formally reject the bill, and electoral reform stalls. The current chief executive, Carrie Lam, widely seen as the Chinese Communist party’s favoured candidate, is hand-picked in 2017 by a 1,200-person committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites. 2014: The Chinese government introduces a bill allowing Hong Kong residents to vote for their leader in 2017, but with one major caveat: the candidates must be approved by Beijing. Pro-democracy lawmakers are incensed by the bill, which they call an example of “fake universal suffrage” and “fake democracy”. The move triggers a massive protest as crowds occupy some of Hong Kong’s most crowded districts for 70 days. In June 2015, Hong Kong legislators formally reject the bill, and electoral reform stalls. The current chief executive, Carrie Lam, widely seen as the Chinese Communist party’s favoured candidate, is hand-picked in 2017 by a 1,200-person committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites. 
2019: Lam pushes amendments to extradition laws that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face charges. The proposed legislation triggers a huge protest, with organisers putting the turnout at 1 million, and a standoff that forces the legislature to postpone debate on the bills. 2019: Lam pushes amendments to extradition laws that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face charges. The proposed legislation triggers a huge protest, with organisers putting the turnout at 1 million, and a standoff that forces the legislature to postpone debate on the bills. 
Hong Kong police on Thursday also charged 44 people linked to the protests with “rioting”, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.Hong Kong police on Thursday also charged 44 people linked to the protests with “rioting”, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Others are increasingly worried about violence and escalating police tactics, which have included firing rubber bullets as well as teargas. Police were reportedly testing water cannons.Others are increasingly worried about violence and escalating police tactics, which have included firing rubber bullets as well as teargas. Police were reportedly testing water cannons.
“People are getting more scared,” said Jacqueline Chan. “But it will not change what we do. We will not [stop] because of fear.”“People are getting more scared,” said Jacqueline Chan. “But it will not change what we do. We will not [stop] because of fear.”
“Every time I think it may be the last time but I try my best,” said another protester who asked not to give her name.“Every time I think it may be the last time but I try my best,” said another protester who asked not to give her name.
Despite the arrests and warnings from Beijing, demonstrators are holding rallies for five consecutive days as more segments of Hong Kong society join young demonstrators who have made up the bulk of the protest movement.Despite the arrests and warnings from Beijing, demonstrators are holding rallies for five consecutive days as more segments of Hong Kong society join young demonstrators who have made up the bulk of the protest movement.
Thousands of civil servants, medical workers and staff from the city’s finance sector rallied on Thursday and Friday, while further protests were planned for Sunday. Many have called for a citywide strike on Monday, which has been backed by major businesses and unions.Thousands of civil servants, medical workers and staff from the city’s finance sector rallied on Thursday and Friday, while further protests were planned for Sunday. Many have called for a citywide strike on Monday, which has been backed by major businesses and unions.
The focus of Saturday’s rally continued to be condemning the police but also calling on citizens to take part in the strike on Monday.The focus of Saturday’s rally continued to be condemning the police but also calling on citizens to take part in the strike on Monday.
One group marching held a black banner with the words: “The police have overstepped”, while others chanted for the release of protesters who have been arrested over the last two months of demonstrations.One group marching held a black banner with the words: “The police have overstepped”, while others chanted for the release of protesters who have been arrested over the last two months of demonstrations.
The protesters have vowed to keep fighting and appear to be shifting their tactics. Over the last week, dozens have surrounded police stations where the arrested are believed to be held. Others appear to be focused on gathering more support among the public, or targeting international audiences.The protesters have vowed to keep fighting and appear to be shifting their tactics. Over the last week, dozens have surrounded police stations where the arrested are believed to be held. Others appear to be focused on gathering more support among the public, or targeting international audiences.
“If peaceful marches that disrupt the road for an afternoon or so don’t work, maybe it spills over to blockading more roads, maybe for long. If that doesn’t work? Maybe next time people would besiege a government building … It goes on and on,” said one protester, who asked to only give his first name, Chris.“If peaceful marches that disrupt the road for an afternoon or so don’t work, maybe it spills over to blockading more roads, maybe for long. If that doesn’t work? Maybe next time people would besiege a government building … It goes on and on,” said one protester, who asked to only give his first name, Chris.
“It’s like a hydra – whether it grows more heads, or its feet have become more threatening, the whole hydra has become a bigger threat.”“It’s like a hydra – whether it grows more heads, or its feet have become more threatening, the whole hydra has become a bigger threat.”
Still, few protesters are optimistic that their methods will ultimately change how Hong Kong is governed. The local government still ultimately answers to Beijing, which is likely to exert more rather than less control over the city following the protests, according to analysts.Still, few protesters are optimistic that their methods will ultimately change how Hong Kong is governed. The local government still ultimately answers to Beijing, which is likely to exert more rather than less control over the city following the protests, according to analysts.
Jason Keung, 22, said that even though he does not expect a meaningful change from his government, he still believes it is the duty of people like him to come out.Jason Keung, 22, said that even though he does not expect a meaningful change from his government, he still believes it is the duty of people like him to come out.
“We have to try to do something in this moment even though this is little or maybe not useful. We still have to try.”“We have to try to do something in this moment even though this is little or maybe not useful. We still have to try.”
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