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WorldIn Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm

18:20  24 august  2019
18:20  24 august  2019 Source:   msn.com

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HONG KONG — Violence returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday, as the police fired tear gas and protesters threw stones and gasoline bombs, signaling the end of a period of relative calm in the city. The clashes in the district of Kwun Tong, in eastern Kowloon

Hong Kong (CNN) Hong Kong 's brief respite from violence has come to an end , with police firing tear gas at demonstrators as the city's protests The stand off brings an end to a week of relative calm in Hong Kong , which had seen numerous clashes between protesters and police since early summer.

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HONG KONG — Violence returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday, as the police fired tear gas and protesters threw stones and gasoline bombs, signaling the end of a period of relative calm in the city.

In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm© Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times The police in Hong Kong said that protesters had started fires and hurled bricks at officers on Saturday. The authorities said that the use of force had been required to disperse the crowd.

The clashes in the district of Kwun Tong, in eastern Kowloon, were a marked departure from the peaceful, if sometimes tense, gatherings that had taken place over much of the last two weeks.

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HONG KONG —For months now, I’ve been told that Hong Kong ’s protests would end soon. Many of my interviews are interrupted: by tear gas and pepper spray, by police lines marching toward us And then the clouds of tear gas drifted in our direction, as they so often do in Hong Kong these days

The ongoing 2019–20 Hong Kong protests were triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government.

In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm© Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times Riot police fired tear gas at protesters in Wong Tai Sin. Demonstrators threw stones and gasoline bombs at officers.

Just a day earlier, antigovernment demonstrators had held hands across Hong Kong, forming human chains to demand greater democracy in the semiautonomous Chinese territory.

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Before officers wielding batons charged at a crowd Saturday afternoon in Kwun Tong, protesters had used bamboo rods and other objects to put up barricades outside a police station. Some protesters had pulled down and dismantled lampposts that they said contained high-tech surveillance equipment.

“We don’t want to be monitored — we want human rights,” said Calvin Wong, a 24-year-old demonstrator. “Maybe people in the mainland accept this, but people in Hong Kong will not.”

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Hong Kong 's protests started in June against plans to allow extradition to mainland China. Critics feared this could undermine judicial Clashes between police and activists have become increasingly violent , with police firing live bullets and protesters attacking officers and throwing petrol bombs.

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In a statement, the police said that protesters had started fires and hurled bricks at officers, and that the use of force had been required to scatter the crowd.

In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm© Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times Protesters clashed with police officers in riot gear on Saturday in the Kowloon Bay district of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm© Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times The police argued with demonstrators through a gate over the entrance of the Kwun Tong subway station.

Officers also fired tear gas in the Wong Tai Sin area Saturday evening; the police said the action was a response to protesters obstructing roads and aiming laser pointers at officers.

The demonstrations in Hong Kong began in June over an unpopular bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. The proposal has since been shelved, but protesters are calling for it to be fully withdrawn. The movement’s demands have expanded to include other issues, such as amnesty for arrested protesters and an investigation into police violence.

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Hong Kong has seen several months of pro -democracy protests - and China appears to be tightening its grip. Media captionPolice use tear gas on protesters . While most people in Hong Kong are ethnic Chinese, and although Hong Kong is part of China, a majority of people there don't identify as

Protesters clash with police amid tear gas after taking part in an anti-extradition bill march on July 21 in Hong Kong . Over a two-hour period , at least 45 people were injured. More protests are planned in the days and weeks to come. If violence becomes more common, Beijing may be more

Last weekend was the first in many weeks in which the demonstrations did not involve tear gas or clashes between protesters and the police. Organizers estimated that at least 1.7 million people marched peacefully through the city center under heavy rain last Sunday. The enormous turnout prompted Hong Kong’s top leader, Carrie Lam, to say that she intended to start listening more to the community.

In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm© Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times The protests in Hong Kong began in June over an unpopular bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

On Saturday, as demonstrators assembled in Kwun Tong, Mrs. Lam wrote on Facebook that the calm had made it an opportune moment for dialogue.

“I don’t expect that dialogue will be able to easily untangle this knot, stop the demonstrations or provide a solution to the problem,” she wrote. “But continuing to fight is not a way out.”

Less than two hours after Mrs. Lam’s post appeared, the police were firing tear gas in Kwun Tong.

In the afternoon, a group of protesters squared off with officers on the wide main road outside the police station. A smaller group of demonstrators retreated into an open-air shopping center after helmeted officers approached from several sides.

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Nearly six months of pro -democracy protests have rocked Hong Kong , with the police arresting more than 4 Protesters later apologized. The Chinese authorities denounced the violence as “close to It marked a period of quiet, after the havoc at the airport and criticism of the protesters ’ behavior there.

Riot police approached firing tear gas . The protesters fled the scene, but their message was clear. HONG KONG — Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched in peaceful protest on Monday The movement now enters a period of uncertainty. Arrests are likely. Divisions are growing among

In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm© Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times Protesters in Kowloon Bay used bamboo rods and other objects to put up barricades.

There, the protesters hurled debris and other objects, including a bottle that landed among a crowd of police officers and journalists. The bottle burst into flames upon impact, and the officers responded by firing rubber bullets and tear gas in the partly covered area.

Afterward, protesters continued throwing debris and pulled up metal drain covers to create barricades, but they dispersed after the police began moving toward them.

The authorities had granted authorization for a march in Kwun Tong on Saturday, the 12th straight weekend of demonstrations. But at midday, Hong Kong’s subway operator halted train service along a stretch near the protest route, forcing those who wanted to join the rally to walk from more distant stations.

In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm© Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times The movement’s demands have expanded to include other issues, such as amnesty for arrested protesters and an investigation into police violence.

The subway operator said the move had been intended to ensure the safety of passengers and employees, but supporters of the protest movement called it a concession to pressure from Beijing.

In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
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Chinese state-run news outlets criticized Hong Kong’s rail operator this past week for sending trains to take protesters home after a standoff with the police at a subway station late Wednesday.

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That night, after a rally at the train station in the satellite town of Yuen Long, a large crowd of demonstrators barricaded themselves inside the station as officers with riot gear approached. The protesters heckled the officers and shined laser pointers at them, and the scene grew tense.

But after an hour or so, station employees began announcing that trains were coming to take demonstrators back to the city. The protesters started moving away from the barricades and boarding the trains. There was no violence.

On Thursday, however, state news media in mainland China accused Hong Kong’s subway operator of “working hand in glove with rioters.”

“Once violence is indulged, then public safety is no longer being taken seriously,” read an article in People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper.

The high-tech lampposts that protesters targeted on Saturday had been installed as part of a government program to collect more real-time data throughout the city over the next three years. In a discussion paper published this month, the government said that 50 lampposts had been put on the streets so far, including 10 in Kwun Tong’s town center.

Francis Fong, a member of a committee advising the Hong Kong government on the project, said that the authorities had already deactivated the video function on the lampposts after residents raised privacy concerns. The lampposts also automatically pixelate faces and license plates in the still images they take, he said.

Still, Mr. Fong said, “the biggest issue is the lack of trust between the government and Hong Kong people.”

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In photos: Hong Kong protests

In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm
In Hong Kong Protests, Tear Gas and Violence End a Period of Calm

Ezra Cheung and Austin Ramzy contributed reporting.

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