Hong Kong police break up clashes between rival protesters

By Martin Pollard and Clare Jim HONG KONG (Reuters) - Baton-wielding Hong Kong police moved in to break up scuffles on Saturday between pro-China protesters and those denouncing perceived Chinese meddling at the start of rallies planned for across the city after months of often violent unrest.

Reuters September 15, 2019 01:12:35 IST
Hong Kong police break up clashes between rival protesters

Hong Kong police break up clashes between rival protesters

By Martin Pollard and Clare Jim

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Baton-wielding Hong Kong police moved in to break up scuffles on Saturday between pro-China protesters and those denouncing perceived Chinese meddling at the start of rallies planned for across the city after months of often violent unrest.

The pro-China demonstrators chanted "Support the police" and "China, add oil" at a shopping mall, adapting a line used by anti-Hong Kong government protesters and loosely meaning: "China, keep your strength up".

"Hong Kong is China," one woman shouted at passersby who shouted obscenities in return in an angry pushing and pulling standoff, marked more by the shouting than violence.

The clashes in the Kowloon Bay area of the Hong Kong "special administrative zone" of China spilled out on to the streets, with each confrontation captured by dozens of media and onlookers on their smart phones. Police detained several people.

Protesters complaining about perceived Chinese interference in the former British colony came out in their hundreds across the territory on Friday, singing and chanting on the Mid-Autumn Festival, in contrast to the violence of many previous weekends when police have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon.

They have also gathered in malls, with occasional scuffles with flag-carrying China supporters, often denouncing police for perceived brutality.

Anti-government protesters were also gathering in the downtown Central district and hundreds were marching in the northwestern New Territories district of Tin Shui Wai.

“We need to keep coming out to tell the government to respond to our five demands, otherwise it will think we accept the withdrawal (of an extradition bill)," said protester Mandy, 26, in Tin Shui Wai, where crowds, a few waving the U.S. Stars and Stripes, shouted: "Liberate Hong Kong."

The spark for the anti-government protests was the now-withdrawn bill and concerns that Beijing is eroding civil liberties, but many young protesters are also angry about sky-high living costs and a lack of job prospects.

Their four other demands are: retraction of the word "riot" to describe rallies, release of all detained demonstrators, an independent inquiry into perceived police brutality and the right for Hong Kong people to choose their own leaders.

The extradition bill would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts, despite Hong Kong having its own much-cherished legal system.

Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.

China says Hong Kong is now its internal affair. It says it is committed to the "one country, two systems" arrangement and denies meddling in Hong Kong's affairs.

China is eager to quell the unrest before the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1. It has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest.

(Reporting by Twinnie Siu, Jessie Pang, Martin Pollard, Poppy McPherson, Amr Abdallah, Clare Jim and Jorge Silva; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.