Date
12 November 2019
Protesters run through an MTR train station in Hong Kong on Sunday as they try to evade the police. Photo: Reuters
Protesters run through an MTR train station in Hong Kong on Sunday as they try to evade the police. Photo: Reuters

HK mops up after weekend of violence; braces for more protests

Metro stations in Hong Kong resumed regular service on Monday and streets were being cleaned of debris as the city recovered from another night of violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police, with more protests planned this week.

Police fired volleys of tear gas at protesters across the territory on Sunday and staged baton charges in flashpoints in downtown Hong Kong and in working class districts.

Protesters threw two petrol bombs, which police said injured an officer, and used flash-mob strategy, withdrawing when pressed to reappear elsewhere, to combat police.

At one stage police stormed some underground train stations, firing tear gas and arresting protesters.

The protests blocked multiple roads in key commercial and shopping districts and shuttered public facilities across the Asian financial hub.

Protesters are expected to gather at the city’s international airport for a fourth day in a row on Monday and plan to rally outside police headquarters on Monday night.

The increasingly violent protests since June have emerged as Hong Kong’s most serious crisis in decades and become one of the biggest challenges to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012.

What began as opposition to a proposed bill to allow people to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial in Communist Party-controlled courts has evolved into calls for greater democracy in Hong Kong.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement enshrining some autonomy for Hong Kong when China took it back in 1997.

They are calling on the government to listen to public demands particularly an independent investigation into the handling of the protests.

Beijing says criminals and agitators are stirring violence, encouraged by “interfering” foreign powers including Britain, but the protests seem to enjoy broad support in the city of more than 7 million people.

Police have arrested more than 600 people since the protests started more than two months ago. Reuters

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