Published On: Sun, Aug 25th, 2019

Hong Kong protests: Police use water cannon as angry protesters throw rocks | World | News

Police used water cannon for the first time on Sunday as protestors came out in drove to face-off against the authorities in the pouring rain. The incident followed thousands of protesters taking to Kwun Tong district in the city’s east on Saturday, reiterating the five demands that have emerged during this pro-democracy movement, and adding an additional issue: the government’s installation of “smart” environmental monitoring lampposts, which have sparked privacy concerns. Protesters attempted to tear down or dismantle the lampposts, while others gathered on the streets and formed barriers.

Protesters have been seen with a slingshot, iron bars and bricks, while riot police fired back pepper spray and tear gas, making it the first time in 10 days since tear gas was fired.

In a statement on Saturday evening, the Hong Kong government condemned the “vandalistic and violent acts of the protesters” and said that a number of smart lamp-posts were “deliberately damaged.”

The government added that the smart lampposts “do not carry facial recognition function and would not infringe upon personal privacy.”

Chief executive Carrie Lam wrote on her Facebook page on Saturday: “”Everyone is tired. “Can we sit down and talk about it?

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“The public’s dissatisfaction may also be due to deep social contradictions in different areas such as politics, economy and people’s livelihood. While we are calling for a cessation of violence, we must also provide a way out for solving the deeper “dead knot” of society.”

The Chinese-ruled city’s MTR rail operator suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering but protesters made it to a sports stadium in the vast container port of Kwai Chung, from where they marched to nearby Tsuen Wan.

Some dug up bricks from the pavement and wheeled them away to use as ammunition, others sprayed detergent on the road to make it slippery for the lines of police. There were clashes in many directions.

Police said in a statement: “Some radical protesters have removed railings … and set up barricades with water-filled barriers, bamboo sticks, traffic cones and other objects.

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“Such acts neglect the safety of citizens and road users, paralysing traffic in the vicinity,” the statement said.

Last weekend, police fired no tear gas, and an estimated 1.7 million people braved the heavy rain and heat to march peacefully along Hong Kong’s streets.

Protesters say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement under which the former British colony returned to China in 1997 with the promise of continued freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.

The protests, which started over a now-suspended extradition bill and evolved into demands for greater democracy, have rocked Hong Kong for three months and plunged the city into its biggest political crisis since the handover.



They also pose a direct challenge for Communist Party leaders in Beijing, who are eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1.

Beijing has sent a clear warning that forceful intervention is possible, with paramilitary forces holding drills just over the border.

Transport to the airport appeared normal on Sunday, despite protesters’ plans for a day-long “stress test” of transport in the international aviation and financial hub.

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