Hong Kong (AFP)
The Chinese army proceeded Thursday, images in support, the relief of its garrison permanently installed in Hong Kong, where the police banned a large demonstration planned Saturday in the former British colony, evoking a risk of violence .
Dozens of trucks and armored personnel carriers crossed the border between mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the night, according to images broadcast by Chinese state television.
This is the "normal annual rotation" of the garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), said the agency China New.
The PLA has several thousand soldiers in Hong Kong since the return of territory to China in 1997.
Fresh troops arrived "by land, by sea and by air," the official news agency added.
The Chinese army does not normally have to intervene in Hong Kong but may be asked to restore order by local authorities, as recently reported by senior Chinese officials.
A video showing an exercise by the Hong Kong garrison engaged in suppressing riots was seen in early August as a warning to protesters who have been denouncing the pro-Beijing executive since June.
- Summation fire -
The relief of the soldiers came as the Hong Kong police banned the holding of a new major pro-democracy demonstration on Saturday citing security reasons, while rallies at the weekend were marred by serious violence.
The event is organized by the Civilian Human Rights Front (FCHR), a non-violent organization that has been behind the biggest gatherings of recent months in the former British colony. And especially that of August 18 which had gathered 1.7 million people according to the organizers, without any overflow.
But in a letter sent Thursday to the FCDH, the police say fear that some participants will commit "violence" or "acts of destruction."
Referring to previous demonstrations, the police report that the protesters not only "ignited fires and blocked roads, they also used incendiary bombs, steel balls, bricks, spears, metal bars and various weapons craft to commit large-scale destruction of public property, disrupt social order and inflict harm on others ".
On Sunday, the police had deployed water cannons and even for the first time fired a warning shot with a firearm at an authorized demonstration that had violently escalated.
- "To stir up anger" -
The demonstration next Saturday was to mark the fifth anniversary of China's refusal of political reforms in Hong Kong, which triggered the "Umbrella Movement".
This mobilization resulted in 79 days of peaceful occupation of the streets of Hong Kong in late 2014, without Beijing making any political concession.
The FCHR has announced its intention to appeal this ban.
"You can see that the police are speeding up their action plan, and you can see that (the head of the Hong Kong executive) Carrie Lam has no intention of allowing Hong Kong to find peace, but is looking for contrary to stir up the anger of citizens with harsh measures, "told reporters Jimmy Sham, leader of the FCHR.
The Front invited protesters on Saturday to gather in central Hong Kong before walking towards the Liaison Office, which houses the relays of the Chinese central government in the former British colony. But gathering like walking is forbidden.
At the demonstration on August 18, he had only been allowed to organize a rally in a large park in the center of the city.
But the protesters then marched through the streets. The crowd far exceeded the capacity of the park, the authorities were not opposed to the procession to the districts of Wanchai and Central.
The mobilization began in June in Hong Kong against a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. The text has been suspended but the protesters are now calling for democratic reforms in the face of the growing perceived influence of the communist regime.
© 2019 AFP