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Hong Kong: new violence to mark the ten weeks of the movement

2019-08-12T06:09:59.082Z

Hong Kong suffered further violence on Sunday, August 11, during the tenth weekend of mobilization in a row against the draft law on extraditions, which would allow people arrested in this special administrative region of China ...



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Riot police use pepper spray to disperse Hong Kong demonstrators on August 11, 2019. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

Hong Kong suffered further violence on Sunday (August 11th) during the tenth week-long mobilization campaign against the extradition bill, which would allow people arrested in China's Special Administrative Region to be tried on the mainland. Demonstrators are also demanding more democracy and an independent investigation into police violence. How did we get there?

With our special correspondent in Hong Kong, Christophe Paget

The tenth weekend of successive protests in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ended with clashes on Sunday evening between protesters and the police. On Saturday and Sunday, the marches planned and banned by the authorities were held for the most part, and in a calm atmosphere. But in the evening, small groups of protesters blocking roads clashed with the police. Hong Kong protesters are still calling for the total withdrawal of the extradition bill, which would allow people arrested in Hong Kong to be tried in China. The text is currently suspended.

For the first time since the start of the protest, police used tear gas at a subway station in Kwai Chung District in the north. By the end of the afternoon, little groups of demonstrators had erected barricades in several parts of Hong Kong, and the now-traditional game of cat and mouse with the police lasted several hours. Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and made arrests. Several people complained that they had been stopped by policemen disguised as protesters. According to the hospital authorities, 13 people were injured.

Charge of the riot police in Hong Kong, August 11, 2019. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

For the past three weeks, the police have banned demonstrations or only allow them if they remain confined to one place. This did not prevent Sunday a march in the district of Sham Shui Po, and this is where the first barricades were erected. In Victoria Park , on the island of Hong Kong, the demonstrators had organized a big rally: pro-democracy deputies, social workers, teachers have succeeded to thousands of people to testify and give their opinion on the rest of the movement. A three-day sit-in was also organized this weekend at the airport.

How did violence take hold in Hong Kong

It all began in February when the head of the executive, Carrie Lam, decided to amend the law on extraditions. The opposition then denounced a reinforcement of the control of Beijing, and the demonstrations began at the end of April. On June 9, one million people took to the streets, the biggest demonstration since the 1997 surrender by London . It was at this time that the violence began between police and protesters: 79 injured militants and one death, a protester fell from a roof. China condemned " riots " and supported the Hong Kong government.

One of the techniques now devoted among Hong Kong protesters to fight against tear gas. Hong Kong, August 11, 2019. REUTERS / Thomas Peter

The communist regime will then threaten to send the army. But June 15, Carrie Lam suspends the bill , on the eve of a demonstration bringing together 2 million people. From then on, the blockages multiply. On July 1, the Parliament is invaded by the demonstrators, who ransack the premises. They begin to demand a total withdrawal of the bill, and an independent investigation into police violence. On 21 July, protestors are violently assaulted by suspected triad members , and the police are accused of giving up. The government is still hardening the tone.

Dozens of protesters are then arrested and charged. But not enough to stop the mobilization , which still changes shape on August 5, with the organization of a general strike disrupting the territory. Police now banned the weekend protests, which still take place for the most part. And in the evening, small groups try, as this weekend, to block the streets left to face the police. These days, many in the ranks of the protest, propose the holding of a new general strike to attract the attention of the government and avoid injuries and arrests.

Before, the protesters and the police were each on their own. They established a line, the police eventually fired tear gas, protesters dispersed, returned, the police ran after them and arrested some. Now the protesters are building barricades, blocking streets or tunnels and leaving quickly to avoid being hit and stopped. Of course, since June 9, nearly 500 people have been arrested. But the demonstrators learn quickly, we must now manage to avoid these arrests, while continuing the movement. I preferred that there be no arrest and no violence. It is this communist regime that has taught us that peaceful protests are useless. I do not promote violence, but so far I have never seen protesters try to hurt anyone. They are destroying structures, committing acts of vandalism ... To tell you the truth, I am the very type of MP "peaceful, rational and non-violent". And even I, I came to this position. This is to say if the regime has become repressive! When the social movement does not have enough strength and impact, they simply ignore it

Pro-democracy MP Fernando Cheung explains that the protesters had to change tactics against the police 12/08/2019 - by Christophe Paget

Source: rfi

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