New protest erupts as 44 activists charged with rioting

July 31, 2019 10:04
An arrested anti-government protester leaves a police station on bail in Hong Kong on Tuesday as his friends wait for him. Photo: Reuters

Hundreds of people surrounded a police station in Hong Kong on Tuesday chanting “free the martyrs” after 44 activists were charged with rioting following weekend clashes between protesters and police, Reuters reports.

Protesters gathered at the Kwai Chung police station where some of the activists were to be freed on bail.

Clashes broke out, and one police officer brandished a gun to ward off the crowd, the report said.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as they sought to defend China’s main representative office from protesters who set up road blocks and hurled bricks and sticks.

Rioting carries a maximum ten year jail term in Hong Kong.

Activists say they have done nothing wrong and are only seeking justice. In the driving rain, many chanted “Liberate Hong Kong,” and “Revolution of our time”.

Besides calling for an extradition bill to be scrapped, rather than its suspension so far, protesters have also demanded the resignation of city leader Carrie Lam, an independent inquiry into the police’s handling of the crisis and the unconditional release of all those arrested.

Some of the activists are due to appear in court on Wednesday.

China on Monday reiterated its support for Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong police and urged citizens to oppose violence.

Lam’s popularity has dropped to a record low, according to a survey by the independent Public Opinion Research Institute released on Tuesday.

The survey, conducted between July 17 and July 19, showed Lam scored a rating of 30.1, down from 33.4 at the beginning of the month.

Her approval rate stands at 21 percent, while her disapproval rate is 70 percent.

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