Hong Kong protests turn to violent clashes in two towns
Orient Net 2019-09-21 15:08:00
Hong Kong police fired tear gas to disperse pro-democracy protesters on Saturday (September 21) after pro-China groups pulled down some of the “Lennon Walls” of anti-government messages posted in the Chinese-ruled city in more than three months of unrest.
The first canisters were fired when protesters ha hrefed petrol bombs toward an approaching police line in the new town of Tuen Mun, in the west of the New Territories, and again after night fell in nearby Yuen Long.
Under a fierce sub-tropical sun, protesters in Tuen Mun set fire to a Chinese flag as others tore down wooden and metal fences and traffic bollards to build road blocks, at least one of which was set alight.
Some smashed fittings at the Light Rail Transit station, dug up bricks and picked up stones from the sides of the tracks. Others turned fire extinguishers on the police, who made several arrests.
“Radical protesters damaged facilities in Light Rail Town Centre Station in Tuen Mun with metal rods, ha hrefed objects into the Light Rail tracks and set barricades in the vicinity, causing obstruction to the traffic,” police said in a statement.
“Radical protesters also threw petrol bombs, posing a serious threat to the safety of others and police officers.”
Hundreds of protesters retreated from the lines of riot police when the tear gas was fired, many sprinting across a highway to regroup briefly. Others melted away into malls and side-streets.
Similar “Lennon Walls” have blossomed across Hong Kong - at bus stops and shopping centers, under footbridges, along pedestrian walkways and at universities. They have also occasionally become hot spots of violence.
The demonstrations have taken on their own rhythm and tend to peak at weekends, often with anti-government activists, many masked and in black, throwing petrol bombs at police, trashing metro stations, blocking airport roads and lighting street fires. Another protest targeting the airport is planned for Sunday.
Police have responded with tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and live rounds fired into the air, prompting accusations of brutality, which they deny. Amnesty International on Friday said some police treatment of detainees amounted to torture.
Police say they have adhered to regulations in respecting the “privacy, dignity and rights” of those in custody, allowing detainees transport to hospitals and communication with lawyers and families.
Based on Reuters