Dozens Injured After Police Storm Hong Kong Shopping Mall, Pursue Protesters
Dozens Injured After Police Storm Hong Kong Shopping Mall, Pursue Protesters
Tensions Mount in Hong Kong as Protesters Call for Chief Executive Carrie Lam's Resignation
16 July, 2019, 17:21
Police in Hong Kong have fought with protesters as they broke up a demonstration by thousands of people demanding the resignation of the Chinese territory's chief executive and an investigation into complaints of police violence.
Millions have taken to the streets over the past month in some of the largest and most violent protests in decades.
Protesters have recently seized upon the widespread anger over the bill to draw attention to a litany of other grievances, including the territory's relative lack of democracy and mainland traders, blamed by Hong Kong residents for fuelling inflation.
The protests began in opposition to a proposed extradition law but have swelled to include complaints about an influx of mainland Chinese into Hong Kong and that Chief Executive Carrie Lam's Government fails to address the needs of its people.
Civil Rights Observer group member Shum Wai-nam said it was unclear what the police had hoped to achieve from their kettling of protesters and storming of New Town Plaza.
Officers and protesters were injured in the chaotic melee which left bloodstains on the floor and at least 28 people needing hospital treatment.
Soon, more police arrived and advanced up the escalators to drive away the protesters, leaving behind a striking scene of blood and broken umbrellas.
Mr Lam added that it was evident from yesterday's clashes that the police deployed there did not have adequate protection gear and questioned the sense in having them engage protesters at close quarters.
The protest in Sha Tin was peaceful through most of Sunday, but scuffles broke out between police and the demonstrators as the day came to an end.
"Officers were very professional and very restrained, but were met with rioters - I really think they can be described as "rioters" - and attacked wilfully", Lam said.
The police used pepper spray and batons against small groups of protesters, who responded by hurling bottles and other projectiles, in a night of fresh violence in the worldwide hub.
"During the recent series of protests, journalists were unjustifiably dispersed, pushed away, verbally insulted, or even beaten by batons, [and] shot by bean bag rounds by police officers [on] a number of occasions", Chris Yeung, president of march organizers the Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA) told the rally.
Some protesters wore surgical masks as protection against possible police use of pepper spray or tear gas.
With more protests expected in coming days and weeks, her comments risk raising tension.
Lam's government suspended action last month on the extradition bill.
Protests on the island began over a month ago in demand that the government withdraw a bill that would allow some fugitives from Chinese law to be extradited to the mainland to face Beijing-controlled courts there. "This was planned. They deliberately blocked roads and disrupted public order", she said.
Ms Lam apologised for her handling of the legislation, but critics are demanding she resign.
"The whole of Hong Kong found it hard to cope", Mo said. "People just surrounded me and shouted rude language and that makes me feel I am living in fear".
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