Hong Kong mall protests flare

Orient Net 2019-12-15 11:54:00

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Groups of anti-government protesters gathered in shopping malls across Hong Kong on Sunday (December 15) amid sporadic scuffles with riot police, with Chief Executive Carrie Lam away on a visit to Beijing.

In the peak shopping season ahead of Christmas, groups of masked protesters, clad in black, marched through malls chanting slogans including “Fight for freedom” and “Return justice to us”.

In the Telford Plaza mall in Kowloon Bay, skirmishes broke out with riot police, who used pepper spray on crowds and wrestled several people to the ground before taking them away.

In Shatin, police fired one tear gas canister outside the New Town Plaza mall, and took away several people, according to media reports, after some entrances and walkways were blocked, glass panels smashed, and graffiti sprayed.

The police said in a statement that some shops had been damaged and that a smoke bomb had been set off. Many shops closed early.

Hong Kong has been embroiled in its worst political crisis in decades since June with anti-government protests posing a populist challenge to China’s leader Xi Jinping, complicating ties between China and the United States at a time of heightened tensions including over trade.

Demonstrators have railed against what they see as Chinese meddling in freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

They also say they are responding to excessive use of force by police. Last Sunday, a protest march drew around 800,000 people, according to organizers, suggesting the movement still has significant public support.

Based on Reuters