Published: Sat, August 24, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hong Kong Protests: Police And Demonstrators Clash, Ending Stretch Of Calm

Hong Kong Protests: Police And Demonstrators Clash, Ending Stretch Of Calm

Activists plan to disrupt transport to Hong Kong's global airport at the weekend.

Police fire tear gas in Hong Kong.

Four MTR subway stations were closed around Kwun Tong, a densely populated area on the east of the Kowloon peninsula, but thousands packed the streets anyway, most carrying umbrellas against the sun despite hazy skies in the former British colony. The Kwun Tong station and three nearby stations will be closed completely until further notice. Station shops were closed.

The protests began June 9 when hundreds of thousands of mostly young people marched against a proposed extradition bill that would allow individuals to be sent from semi-autonomous Hong Kong to mainland China for trial.

Since the demonstrations, Chinese authorities have increased their inspections at the border - including checking the phones and devices of some passengers for photos of the protests.

"Channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong", he wrote.

Chinese police said Saturday they released an employee at the British Consulate in Hong Kong as the city's pro-democracy protesters took to the streets again, this time to call for the removal of "smart lampposts" that raised fears of stepped-up surveillance.

Police said Cheng was released as scheduled on Saturday and that his legal rights and interests had been observed.

Hong Kong protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas, as chaotic scenes returned to the summer-long anti-government protests on Saturday for the first time in almost two weeks.

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The human chain was described by demonstrators as a commitment to peaceful expression with numerous families and children involved but also as a gesture of defiance to Beijing and the Hong Kong administration of chief executive Carrie Lam.

"We have tried traditional marches, we have tried more militant acts - although I don't agree with them - this time we are coming out together to join hands and show that we are all still united", Wing, who gave only her first name, told AFP.

The rail shutdown by the MTR Corporation comes after it was criticized in Chinese state media, including the People's Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, for allowing "rioters" to get away on trains after clashes with police.

While Shin, a University of British Columbia professor, says it's hard to trace the counter-protests back to Beijing, they have the hallmarks of Chinese state influence.

Protesters have called for an attempt Saturday to blockade routes to the city's airport - a potential flashpoint if large numbers come out.

Hong Kong is bracing for more anti-government demonstrations and a "stress test" of its worldwide airport this weekend, as protests in the Asian financial hub show no signs of abating and diplomatic tensions between China and some Western nations rise.

"We have also reiterated to our employees that there is a zero-tolerance approach to any support for or participation in illegal protests, violent activities or overly radical behaviour", it said in a statement.

During these nearly three months of intense protests, marches and demonstrations of different types, those leading these protests are mainly university students.

Hong Kong riot cops fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of stones, bottles and bamboo poles today, as a standoff in a working-class neighbourhood descended into violence, breaking an uneasy peace that had lasted several days.

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