Angry protesters back on Hong Kong streets
Police fired teargas and pepper spray in Hong Kong on Sunday as tens of thousands of black-clad protesters flooded onto the streets, a week after pro-democracy candidates scored a landslide local election victory.
The rally heralded the end to a rare lull and a return to the large-scale demonstrations that Hong Kongers have staged for nearly six months, fuelled by growing fears that authoritarian China is stamping out the city’s liberties.
It also marked a resumption of the increasingly violent confrontations between protesters and police, with officers shooting volleys of teargas at crowds that included children.
Protesters are seeking to keep pressure on the government after the November 24 district council elections.
“The government are still not listening to us so the protests will go on, they will not stop,” a 20-year-old student who gave only his surname, Chen, said.
“It is hard to predict what will happen. But the people are still very angry and want change.”
The rally started peacefully, with people flooding to the waterside neighbourhood by ferry and train.
But as part of the march ran into a phalanx of police, protesters were told to move back and warned they were straying from the permitted route.
First pepper spray and then teargas was fired at several locations.
Beijing-backed Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has offered no additional concessions in the wake of the elections, and protesters said they felt compelled to return to the streets.
Earlier, a smaller rally marched peacefully to the US consulate to thank American legislators for passing laws backing the protest movement.
Months into the huge protests kicked off by opposition to a bill allowing extradition to China, demonstrators still appear to command widespread support — with the victory of pro-democracy candidates undercutting government claims of a “silent majority” opposed to the movement. — AFP