Hong Kong (dpa) - Demonstration bans and a massive police presence on Saturday in Hong Kong prevented major protests from government opponents.
Smaller actions, organized by Beijing-friendly forces with red Chinese national flags, in part in shopping malls like the Amoy Mall, also resulted in fights and squabbles with China-critical protesters. There was an unknown number of arrests.
A planned march in Tin Shui Wan near the border with China had not been approved by the police. Despite the ban came a few hundred protesters. "Many people are afraid of violating laws, so they did not come," said one participant. The protest rally broke up quickly as he came across security forces. The police had mobilized a large contingent.
Some pro-Chinese demonstrators in light blue T-shirts with the words "I love the Hong Kong police" were in the area of Fortress Hill with their flagpoles and kicks on on spectators or possible China-critical protesters going on, as in a video of the public Transmitter RTHK was seen.
For security reasons, the police planned to ban a mass demonstration scheduled for Sunday. For more than four months, there have been protests in Hong Kong against the local government, the communist leadership in Beijing and its growing influence in Hong Kong. Following the demonstrations, there have been repeated clashes between the police and demonstrators.
Since its return to China in 1997, the former British crown colony has been governed autonomously by its own constitution, based on the principle of "one country, two systems". The seven million Hong Kong residents are under China's sovereignty, but enjoy more rights, such as freedom of expression and assembly, than people in the Communist People's Republic. Many also call for free elections as they were once promised.