Police fire tear gas, rubber bullets in Hong Kong clash over banned march

By REUTERS
July 27, 2019 17:42
1 minute read.
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Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets while protesters hurled rocks during clashes in a rural Hong Kong town on Saturday as several thousand activists gathered to protest an attack by suspected triad gang members at a train station last weekend.

Activists pushed ahead with the march in Yuen Long, scene of the attack by club-wielding men, in spite of a refusal by police to allow the protest on safety grounds.

Rocks and bottles were thrown by protesters, who built barricades out of street furniture and umbrellas, creating multiple stand-offs.



Police, widely criticized for failing to better protect the public from last weekend's attack, responded on Sunday with tear gas, rubber bullets and sponge grenades, a crowd control weapon.



While hundreds of protesters left the area as it grew dark. several hundred more remained. Many were armed with sticks and improvised shields made from wood, surf boards, cardboard and other materials.



Earlier, Reuters witnesses saw a hard core group of activists with small metal bats, metal and wooden poles and slingshots moving against the tide.



Last Sunday, about 100 white-shirted men stormed the Yuen Long mass-transit station hours after protesters marched through central Hong Kong and defaced China's Liaison Office - the main symbol of Beijing's authority over the former British colony.



The men attacked black-clad protesters returning from Hong Kong island, passers-by, journalists and lawmakers with pipes and clubs, leaving 45 people injured. Some of the men later fled to Nam Pin Wai, a traditional walled village.



"We are all waiting for the white shirts to come out. If they want to fight us we are ready," said Harlem Lo, a protester wearing a black T-shirt, who stood his ground despite riot police attempts to clear the area.



"We’ll get revenge for the beatings if they come out," he said.



On Sunday, a car was dented and its windows smashed near the village.



Police, considered slow by protesters to respond last Sunday, became a focus for Saturday's march.



"They failed the public," Kevin, a protester in a red T-shirt, said of the police earlier in the afternoon, as he stood outside the police station, gripping its gates.



"They deliberately let the triads beat up protesters to get revenge on us ... We're here to teach them a lesson," he said, as he shouted an obscenity at the police.



Police said on Sunday protesters used roadside fencing and other street furniture to create roadblocks.


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