World: Police blast mosque with water cannon as hundreds of thousands protest in Hong Kong - - PressFrom - US
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World Police blast mosque with water cannon as hundreds of thousands protest in Hong Kong

19:00  20 october  2019
19:00  20 october  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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HONG KONG — Hong Kong police officers on Sunday drew pistols on protesters who were charging them with sticks, and one fired a warning shot into the air after another officer fell, as a weekend of violent clashes Police used water cannon trucks for the first time since the protests began in June.

Undeterred by a police ban, thousands marched in Kowloon on Sunday in opposition to an anti-mask law imposed by the government. Photo: May James/HKFP. But familiar scenes of unrest broke out within hours as water cannon , projectiles and tear gas were deployed by riot police .

HONG KONG —Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to Hong Kong’s streets Sunday, defying a ban on the assembly before being violently dispersed by police tear gas and a water cannon.

As a police water cannon filled with stinging blue dye blasted protesters along a major thoroughfare in Kowloon, it also hit a small group standing guard outside a mosque — an important spiritual nexus for the city’s largely South Asian Muslim community — leaving bystanders choking and vomiting.

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Protesters meanwhile vandalized businesses perceived as pro-Beijing, threw molotov cocktails at police stations, set barricades on fire and smashed up subway stations in chaotic scenes that have become familiar to the city after five months of sustained protest.

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Hundreds of thousands had braved rain to stage peaceful march in triad-linked district.

Hong Kong police have come under fire for allegedly targeting a major mosque in Tsim Sha Tsui with a water cannon truck. Members of the public assisted in a clean-up operation after blue dye from the crowd control truck stained the building’s Thousands defy protest ban in Hong Kong amid tear

A journalist reacts as police sprays water during an anti-government protest march in Hong Kong, China, October 20, 2019. © Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters A journalist reacts as police sprays water during an anti-government protest march in Hong Kong, China, October 20, 2019.

The huge turnout, estimated by organizers at around 350,000 and including families, children and the elderly, demonstrated how the movement continues to have widespread support, despite the increasingly violent tactics used by protesters and escalating use of force by police.

Marchers created a colored sea of umbrellas through the narrow streets of the city’s Kowloon area, which are lined with malls and international hotels. Some were waving Catalonia flags in solidarity with the pro-independence protests in that region of Spain.

In contrast to previous demonstrations, however, the situation quickly escalated with clashes occurring long before sunset. By late afternoon, protesters had begun tearing up bricks and throwing them at police stations, along with molotov cocktails.

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Hong Kong police fire a water cannon from the central government office at protesters during a Pro -democracy protester take cover after police fire a tear gas canister in Hong Kong 's Wong Tai Hong Kong has been paralysed for months by the protests , which began over concerns that China

In another first, police deployed water cannon against protesters earlier in the day. The protests began in the city's Tsuen Wan district and then spread to the The latest round of violence followed a stretch of uneasy peace in Hong Kong . But on Saturday, a senior Hong Kong official warned that the

In mark of their increasing sophistication, protesters also produced power tools to build sturdier barricades to hold back police, drilling metal railings into the road surface.

a man holding a baseball bat: People hold Catalan pro-independence flags as they take part in a pro-democracy march in the Kowloon district in Hong Kong on Oct. 20, 2019. © Philip Fong/Afp Via Getty Images People hold Catalan pro-independence flags as they take part in a pro-democracy march in the Kowloon district in Hong Kong on Oct. 20, 2019.

The months of protests began in opposition to a now-scrapped bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, what the Hong Kong government said was in response to a brutal murder of a young Hong Kong woman by her boyfriend in Taiwan. He has since voluntarily surrendered to the Taiwanese authorities, despite the lack of the extradition treaty.

Protests have swelled into an all-out rejection of Hong Kong’s leaders, who many say are acting only in Beijing’s interest, and revived a demand for direct elections in the semiautonomous territory.

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Police in Hong Kong used a water cannon to disperse protesters gathered around a police station. A hard core of protesters threw Molotov cocktails Ahead of Sunday's protests , hundreds of people gathered for a prayer sit-in on Saturday night, and on Friday protesters formed a human chain along

Police in Hong Kong used a water cannon to disperse protesters gathered around a police station. A hardcore of protesters threw Molotov cocktails Ahead of Sunday's protests , hundreds of people gathered for a prayer sit-in on Saturday night, and on Friday protesters formed a human chain along

“We don’t care whether they will approve the march or not. Our fight for justice in the face of tyranny goes on anyway,” said Victor, 24, who returned to his home city from New Zealand to participate in the protest. “The movement is spreading everywhere, all around the world.”

The protest came days after the leader of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), Jimmy Sham, was attacked by a group of men wielding hammers in the Mong Kok neighborhood.

a large crowd of people walking on a city street: Thousands of protesters march during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. © Mark Schiefelbein/AP Thousands of protesters march during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.

The beating left Sham splayed on the street covered in blood. It was the second time in recent months that Sham, who is contesting a seat in next month’s local elections, has been targeted. Sham was released from the hospital on Sunday and will continue to need medical treatment and physical therapy.

“The message was clear that someone or some forces behind the scenes are trying to threaten protest organizers and democracy activists,” said Eric Lai, vice convener of the CHRF. “We cannot identify who was behind the attacks, but the objective is to create a chilling effect on those who are making demands for justice.”

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HONG KONG — Tens of thousands of pro -democracy protesters took to Hong Kong ’s streets on Sunday, once again defying a police ban on the assembly and undeterred by a brutal attack against a leader of the organization that called for the march. The huge turnout, which included families

Thousands of pro -democracy protesters defied a police ban on rallying in Hong Kong on August 31, a Another weekend of protests is underway in Hong Kong as Mainland Chinese police are holding drills in nearby Shenzhen, prompting speculation they could be sent in to suppress the protests .

Founded in September 2002 in opposition to proposed national security legislation, the CHRF is an umbrella organization made up of numerous civil society groups. While the protest movement has remained leaderless and largely decentralized, the group has played a major role in organizing the largest marches.

Rumors spread online that the attack on Sham was carried out by people who appeared to be South Asian, prompting fears that ethnic minorities could be targeted for reprisal attacks. In response, protesters called for greater outreach to non-Chinese Hong Kongers and to remain vigilant against attempts to incite violence against them.

a person holding a christmas tree: An anti-government demonstrator throws a petrol bomb toward Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station during a protest in Hong Kong, China, October 20, 2019. © Ammar Awad/Reuters An anti-government demonstrator throws a petrol bomb toward Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station during a protest in Hong Kong, China, October 20, 2019.

Volunteers, minorities, protesters and other locals stood at the gate to the Kowloon Mosque during the protest, holding signs pleading for people not to attack any ethnic minority people or buildings. While some handed out supplies, others led chants, and passing marchers loudly cheered them on.

Only a few hours later, however, a police truck unleashed a cascade of blue water at the mosque, hitting the people who had been standing outside to protect it.

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Police in Hong Kong used a water cannon to disperse protesters gathered around a police station. A hard core of protesters threw Molotov In the past, thousands of people have defied police to stage mass rallies. These rallies have often begun peacefully but then devolved into violence at night.

A group of hardcore protesters threw petrol bombs at a police station as violence flared in Hong Kong during a banned march that drew thousands . The movement has seen hundreds of thousands taking part in demonstrations on several occasions. "The government are now refusing to authorise

Passersby were left choking and vomiting, and the steps of the mosque were stained blue. Phillip Khan, a prominent businessman in the Muslim community standing outside the mosque, called the act an “insult to Islam.” 

“It is ridiculous. The police just went mad,” said Jeremy Tam, a pro-democracy lawmaker, his pants and shoes soaked blue and his eyes bloodshot. “We came here to protect the mosque against protesters, but it was the police that did this. Why make such a scene when it was just peaceful?”

Nawaz, a 36-year-old Pakistani man who has lived in Hong Kong for 25 years, emerged to see the blue-stained road after the cannon had sped past.

“I have such a bad feeling seeing this,” he said. “This is our religion. How can they do this? Only the police are giving us pressure, not the protesters.” He declined to give his family name for fear of backlash from authorities.

Police said in a statement later that the mosque was “accidentally affected” and said they had “immediately contacted” the chief imam and Muslim community leaders to “clarify the situation and to show” concern.

a group of police officers riding horses on a city street: Police arrive to chase away protesters in Hong Kong, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. © Kin Cheung/AP Police arrive to chase away protesters in Hong Kong, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.

Tense scenes unfolded outside the Tsim Sha Tsui police station by early afternoon, as protesters marching past shouted chants calling the police gangsters and demanding the force be dissolved. Police use of force has emerged as a key issue for many in Hong Kong, who say officers are acting with impunity to suppress the movement.

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Hong Kong police say they arrested dozens of people, including a 12-year-old child, over the weekend Clashes broke out after hundreds of thousands of people braved rain on Sunday to stage a peaceful An anti-riot police vehicle equipped with water cannon clears a barricade from the road.

Fears spread of possible revenge after activist attacked, but Sunday’s marred by police water cannon spraying blue dye on Kowloon Mosque . Fears had spread of possible revenge after a protest activist was attacked for a second time by men said to be of South Asian descent.

Shortly after a protester urinated on the station’s gates, police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Tear gas streamed down the Ladies Market, a popular tourist attraction, sending unprotected stall-holders and shoppers scurrying for cover. Some were assisted by protesters and volunteer medics.

Facing the possibility of being penned in by police, many found sanctuary in little businesses that support the protests, huddled in overflowing restaurants, cafes and bars where they could change their clothes and wait for reports on Telegram indicating how they can get away safely while avoiding the police.

Sunday’s protest, initially planned to show opposition to a recently enacted law  banning the use of face masks at public gatherings, continued for hours from a starting point in the Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood. April, 27, and her boyfriend, William, 29, stood near a park where protesters first gathered. The two said they had held off getting married or having kids out of concern over the direction of Hong Kong and the possibility of raising children in a city where Beijing’s grip is tightening.

“The situation for future generations is turning worse very quickly. We are really worried,” April said. “If we don’t fight today, there won’t be a future generation.”

As night fell around the Kowloon Mosque, a group of volunteers began clearing the pools of caustic blue dye, using cloths to remove it from the mosque’s metal gates and brooms to sweep it into drains. Some gagged as they worked, but the crowd of volunteers continued to grow by the hour.

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