Protesters clash with police after massive demonstration

June 10, 2019 12:35
A large number of protesters occupied Harcourt Road in Admiralty on Sunday evening after a massive protest march against the government's proposed changes in extradition laws. Photo: RTHK

Sunday's protest march against the extradition bill saw some demonstrators clash with the police late Sunday night, resulting in injuries to a few police officers as well as a number of protesters. 

At around 7:30 pm, dozens of people wearing masks tried to block the westbound lanes on Harcourt Road across the Admiralty Centre, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Police formed a human chain to prevent the protesters from dashing onto the road, while members of the Special Tactical Squad stood by for potential conflicts.

Later, some 200 people refused to leave and remained on Harcourt Road across the Admiralty Centre after the massive demonstration ended at 10 pm, trying to prevent police officers from reopening the traffic lanes that were closed earlier that day for marchers.

To disperse the excited protesters, police issued a verbal warning before using tear gas and pepper spray against them, only to spark more clashes.

A number of demonstrators were hurt, some with blood pouring from head wounds, RTHK reported.

While the standoff continued as of 1 am on Monday, police managed to push back protesters and put traffic of Harcourt Road back to normal at 1:30 am, with scores of police officers holding anti-riot shields to clear Lung Wo Road, which was occupied by protesters.

Meanwhile, several members of the pro-democracy political party Demosistō, which was formed by student activists including Joshua Wong Chi-fung, led some participants of the demonstration to stage a sit-in protest outside the Legislative Council complex.

The party claimed that they will stay until Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Security Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu come over for a dialogue with them, and agree to retract the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019.

In addition to Demosistō,the Hong Kong Independence Union and Studentlocalism, two groups that call for Hong Kong independence, said they might consider escalating protest actions if the government fails to respond to their demand by June 12 when the bill is scheduled for second reading in Legco.

The groups did not elaborate on the potential actions.

At about 2:00 am on Monday, Hong Kong police removed Demosisto protesters from outside the Legislative Council, carrying them away one by one.

Elsewhere, demonstrators in Wan Chai were hemmed in against the wall of the Old Wan Chai Police Station, surrounded by a large number of officers. At around 8:00 am, the police cleared all the protesters from outside the venue.

According to police, a total of seven people, aged between 21 and 33, involved in four cases linked to the demonstration were arrested as of Sunday evening.

One was arrested for assaulting a police officer, two were arrested for criminal damage, one for theft and three for attempted theft and common assault.

Police Commissioner Stephen Lo on Monday condemned the violence, which he said left at least three officers injured. Two suffered head wounds, while another hurt his leg, Lo said. He also noted that one journalist was injured.

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