Riot policemen try to disperse pro-democracy protesters on a street following a protests in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Thousands took to Hong Kong’s streets Sunday in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators hurled bricks and smokes bombs, breaking a rare pause in violence that has persisted during the six-month-long movement. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Riot policemen try to disperse pro-democracy protesters on a street following a protests in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Thousands took to Hong Kong’s streets Sunday in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators hurled bricks and smokes bombs, breaking a rare pause in violence that has persisted during the six-month-long movement. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Hong Kong pro-democracy rally cut short by police tear gas

Marchers berated police as they scrambled to flee the tear gas

Thousands of people took to Hong Kong’s streets Sunday in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators hurled bricks and smoke bombs, breaking a rare pause in violence that has persisted during the six-month-long movement.

In the largest of three rallies, a key thoroughfare along the waterfront on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour was packed with demonstrators, from hardened masked protesters in all-black outfits to families and the elderly. They chanted “Five demands, not one less” and “Disband the police force” as they marched.

That rally followed two other marches earlier Sunday as protesters sought to keep the pressure on city leader Carrie Lam after the recent win by the pro-democracy camp in district council elections and the gaining of U.S. support for their cause.

“If we don’t walk out, the government will say it’s just a youth issue, but this is a Hong Kong problem that affects all of us,” Lily Chau, 30, said as she pushed her toddler in a stroller at the march in Kowloon. “If we are scared, the government will continue to trample on our rights.”

Police estimated that 16,000 people attended the Kowloon rally.

Slogans spray-painted along walls and on sidewalks reminded the crowd that “Freedom is not free” and pledged “Victory at all costs.”

The Kowloon march was cut short after riot police fired tear gas and arrested a few people. A police statement said minimum force was deployed after “hundreds of rioters hurled smoke bombs” and bricks.

Marchers berated police as they scrambled to flee the tear gas, shouting “Dirty cops” and “Are you trying to kill us?” Some protesters dug up paving stones and threw them on the street to try to slow the police down.

More tear gas was fired at night after dozens of hardcore protesters set up roadblocks and vandalized some shops and restaurants linked to China.

Hong Kong’s protests have been relatively peaceful during the two weeks around the Nov. 24 elections, but Sunday’s disruption indicated there may be more violence if Lam fails to yield to protesters’ demands.

Tensions started Saturday night after police used pepper balls against protesters and a man was hit in the head by an unidentified assailant while clearing the street.

Lam has said she’ll accelerate dialogue but has refused to offer any new concessions since the elections. Her government has accepted only one demand — withdrawing extradition legislation that would have sent suspects to mainland China for trial.

Elaine Wong, an office worker who was at the Kowloon march, called the recent election win “an empty victory.”

“We have in actual fact not won any concessions for our demands,” she said. “We must continue to stand out to remind the government of our unhappiness.”

The two earlier marches Sunday appealed to President Donald Trump for help and demanded that police stop using tear gas.

Waving American flags, black-clad protesters marched to the U.S. Consulate to thank Trump for signing into law last week legislation supporting their cause and urged him to swiftly sanction Lam and other officials for suppressing human rights.

Some held banners reading “Let’s make Hong Kong great again” — a riff on Trump’s 2016 campaign pledge to make America great again. One showed him standing atop a tank with “Trump” emblazoned on the front and side.

At the other small rally, a peaceful crowd of about 200 adults and young children marched to government headquarters in the morning and chanted “No more tear gas.”

“A lot of parents are worried that their children are affected, because their children are coughing, breaking out in rashes and so forth,” said social worker and march organizer Leo Kong.

In Geneva, China accused the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, of emboldening “radical violence” in Hong Kong.

In an opinion piece published Saturday in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper, Bachelet called for an “independent and impartial judge-led investigation into reports of excessive use of force by the police.”

She also said that Lam’s government must prioritize “meaningful, inclusive” dialogue to resolve the crisis.

China’s U.N. mission in Geneva said the article interferes in China’s internal affairs and exerts pressure on Hong Kong’s government and police, which “will only embolden the rioters to conduct more severe radical violence.”

It said Bachelet made “inappropriate comments” on Hong Kong’s crisis and that the Chinese side had lodged a strong protest in response.

READ MORE: Pro-democracy camp wins Hong Kong elections in landslide

___

Associated Press journalists Ken Moritsugu and Dake Kang contributed to this report.

Eileen Ng, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Map showing geographic distribution of COVID cases in BC. (BC CDC photo)
1 new case of COVID-19 in Golden area to close out February

There were only two reported cases in the area for the month

Mussel inspection sit set up at B.C.-Alberta border. (Contributed)
Okanagan Basin Water Board calls for stronger invasive mussel protection

Letter sets out six recommendations for environment minister George Heyman to consider

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. File photo
COMMON’S CORNER: Challenging the government on vaccine availability and more

The first of a quarterly column from Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison

Will Cunningham, Joyce deBoer and Sheri Fleischaue pose in front of the newly installed Seed Swap Cupboard. Missing from the photo are other Seed Swap Squad members Dan Geddes, Mary Lynn Lewis, Andrea Crook, Jill Dewtie, Bob Finnie and Donna Attewell. (Local Food Matters photo)
Local Food Matters introduces seed swap cupboard

Annual seed swap cancelled for a second straight year, pupboard a way to spread seeds and knowledge

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Riverside Centre includes a theatre hosting local plays, visiting musicians and dance troupes. It is also used for community events such as public meetings and fundraisers. Photo Town of Princeton
COVID-19 numbers provided by Interior Health show Salmon Arm and Revelstoke in the 200-plus range from January 2020 to February 2021 while Vernon, with a larger population, tallied more than 600 over the 14 months. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
14 months of COVID-19 data show Kamloops cases doubling Vernon’s

Jan. 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021: 605 cases reported for Vernon, 243 for Salmon Arm, 1,246 for Kamloops

Penticton Fire Department pulled a kayaker from Okanagan Lake on Wednesday after he had fallen out of his boat and called 911. The man was taken to the hospital for treatment. (Western News - File)
Kayaker rescued from Okanagan Lake after falling in and calling 911

The Penticton Fire Department’s Marine Rescue pulled him out suffering from severe cold

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s general manager Dan Proulx, left, hosted a virtual Official Opposition town hall meeting with Shadow Cabinet Minister Small Business Pat Kelly, right, and North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold March 3, 2021. (Screenshot)
Tourism key to business recovery in North Okanagan-Shuswap: MP

Easing travel restrictions, limiting taxation and debt management critical to COVID-19 economic recovery

Thomas Kruger-Allen is expected to be sentenced Friday, March 5, 2021.
Sentencing expected Friday for 2019 Penticton beach attack

Defense wants 12 to 18 months for beach assaults that left one of his victims with brain injury

(BCCDC)
42 cases of COVID-19 in the Central Okanagan last week

Officials have identified almost 3,000 cases of the virus in the Central Okanagan throughout the pandemic

Most Read