Riot policemen try to disperse pro-democracy protesters on a street following a protests in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Thousands took to Hong Kong’s streets Sunday in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators hurled bricks and smokes bombs, breaking a rare pause in violence that has persisted during the six-month-long movement. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Hong Kong pro-democracy rally cut short by police tear gas

Marchers berated police as they scrambled to flee the tear gas

Thousands of people took to Hong Kong’s streets Sunday in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators hurled bricks and smoke bombs, breaking a rare pause in violence that has persisted during the six-month-long movement.

In the largest of three rallies, a key thoroughfare along the waterfront on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour was packed with demonstrators, from hardened masked protesters in all-black outfits to families and the elderly. They chanted “Five demands, not one less” and “Disband the police force” as they marched.

That rally followed two other marches earlier Sunday as protesters sought to keep the pressure on city leader Carrie Lam after the recent win by the pro-democracy camp in district council elections and the gaining of U.S. support for their cause.

“If we don’t walk out, the government will say it’s just a youth issue, but this is a Hong Kong problem that affects all of us,” Lily Chau, 30, said as she pushed her toddler in a stroller at the march in Kowloon. “If we are scared, the government will continue to trample on our rights.”

Police estimated that 16,000 people attended the Kowloon rally.

Slogans spray-painted along walls and on sidewalks reminded the crowd that “Freedom is not free” and pledged “Victory at all costs.”

The Kowloon march was cut short after riot police fired tear gas and arrested a few people. A police statement said minimum force was deployed after “hundreds of rioters hurled smoke bombs” and bricks.

Marchers berated police as they scrambled to flee the tear gas, shouting “Dirty cops” and “Are you trying to kill us?” Some protesters dug up paving stones and threw them on the street to try to slow the police down.

More tear gas was fired at night after dozens of hardcore protesters set up roadblocks and vandalized some shops and restaurants linked to China.

Hong Kong’s protests have been relatively peaceful during the two weeks around the Nov. 24 elections, but Sunday’s disruption indicated there may be more violence if Lam fails to yield to protesters’ demands.

Tensions started Saturday night after police used pepper balls against protesters and a man was hit in the head by an unidentified assailant while clearing the street.

Lam has said she’ll accelerate dialogue but has refused to offer any new concessions since the elections. Her government has accepted only one demand — withdrawing extradition legislation that would have sent suspects to mainland China for trial.

Elaine Wong, an office worker who was at the Kowloon march, called the recent election win “an empty victory.”

“We have in actual fact not won any concessions for our demands,” she said. “We must continue to stand out to remind the government of our unhappiness.”

The two earlier marches Sunday appealed to President Donald Trump for help and demanded that police stop using tear gas.

Waving American flags, black-clad protesters marched to the U.S. Consulate to thank Trump for signing into law last week legislation supporting their cause and urged him to swiftly sanction Lam and other officials for suppressing human rights.

Some held banners reading “Let’s make Hong Kong great again” — a riff on Trump’s 2016 campaign pledge to make America great again. One showed him standing atop a tank with “Trump” emblazoned on the front and side.

At the other small rally, a peaceful crowd of about 200 adults and young children marched to government headquarters in the morning and chanted “No more tear gas.”

“A lot of parents are worried that their children are affected, because their children are coughing, breaking out in rashes and so forth,” said social worker and march organizer Leo Kong.

In Geneva, China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, of emboldening “radical violence” in Hong Kong.

In an opinion piece published Saturday in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper, Bachelet called for an “independent and impartial judge-led investigation into reports of excessive use of force by the police.”

She also said that Lam’s government must prioritize “meaningful, inclusive” dialogue to resolve the crisis.

China’s U.N. mission in Geneva said the article interferes in China’s internal affairs and exerts pressure on Hong Kong’s government and police, which “will only embolden the rioters to conduct more severe radical violence.”

It said Bachelet made “inappropriate comments” on Hong Kong’s crisis and that the Chinese side had lodged a strong protest in response.

READ MORE: Pro-democracy camp wins Hong Kong elections in landslide

___

Associated Press journalists Ken Moritsugu and Dake Kang contributed to this report.

Eileen Ng, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

Tax penalties of 10 per cent to be applied by City if not paid on time

Prince Rupert Property taxes for certain non-residential properties are due by Sept. 30

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read