Hong Kong (AP) - In Hong Kong, clashes between protesters and the police have occurred again. The security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets and a water cannon. Radical demonstrators shot with bow and arrow.
An officer responsible for media work was hit by an arrow. Photos of the incident showed the bullet stuck in the officer's leg. Also some demonstrators built catapults, with which they fired incendiary devices.
The riots on Sunday focused primarily on the area around the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong, which was occupied by demonstrators. The city's colleges had become a new focus of protests over more than five months last week. Several universities had then announced that they would terminate the semester prematurely.
After a relatively quiet day, it came again on Saturday evening to clashes in the city. In anticipation of further protests and blockades, the authorities announced that the city's schools and kindergartens will remain closed this Monday.
Hong Kong had witnessed the most violent clashes since the protests started on June 9 last week. Unlike before, the actions no longer focused only on the weekend but on weekdays.
Meanwhile, the first deployment of Chinese soldiers has sparked heated criticism over more than five months of ongoing protests from government opponents. On a video from local TV station RTHK, on Saturday, people from the People's Liberation Army unarmed in shorts and T-shirts cleared stones and other objects from the street near the Hong Kong Baptist University, which was previously occupied by protesters. Videos also showed soldiers jogging through the streets with red buckets in hand. Dozens of soldiers took part in the cleanup.
The unusual efforts received much attention because for some months there have been fears among some Hong Kong people that China could use its military to quell the protests in the city. After months of demonstrations, China's communist leadership had recently hinted at increasing its grip. Nevertheless, most observers consider a military crackdown on the protests unlikely, because China would be outlawed internationally. Instead, Hong Kong's government and police are supposed to be orderly from Beijing's point of view.
More than 10,000 soldiers of the People's Liberation Army have been stationed with China in Hong Kong since the return of the British Crown Colony in 1997. According to unconfirmed reports, the troop numbers are said to have been increased secretly.
Under current law, Hong Kong's government may ask the central government in Beijing for military assistance to restore public order or help after disasters. However, such a request did not exist on Saturday, the Hong Kong government said.
As reported by the South China Morning newspaper, opposition members strongly condemned the operation and called for clarification from the government.
The garrison of the People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong said that it was a "charitable act". The soldiers only wanted to help local residents clean up the roads near the barracks. On videos you can see how some people applaud the soldiers.
The People's Liberation Army had already left Iraq without an explicit request for help. Thus, 400 soldiers helped eliminate damage from the typhoon "Mangkhut" last year, local media reported.
Protests in the Chinese Special Administrative Region, which have been ongoing for more than five months, are directed against the government. Protesters call for free elections, an independent investigation of police brutality and impunity for the already more than 4,000 detainees. The resignation of Prime Minister Carrie Lam is one of her demands.