A rally in Central calling for global sanctions on Hong Kong officials who undermine human rights was cut short by police a little over an hour after starting on Sunday afternoon.
The gathering in Chater Garden had started peacefully. However in the surrounding areas black-clad protesters soon began erecting barricades, vandalising traffic lights and defacing buildings.
At one point an undercover officer asked organiser Ventus Lau to call the rally off but refused to show his ID. Lau repeatedly said he would do as asked once the officer had identified himself. When the policeman finally showed his ID, Lau agreed to end the rally. However surrounding people immediately set on the officer and prevented him from leaving.
He and several other people appeared to have been injured a short while later, bleeding from head wounds. Police later released a statement saying two officers from the community liaison office had been beaten with wooden sticks when they tried to communicate with the rally organisers.
A few minutes later, riot police fired tear-gas near the HSBC headquarters after protesters had started fires, build more barriers and started digging up paving stones. The protesters and those gathered in Chater Garden quickly dispersed, and police set up cordons around the area.
The police said officers had used the minimal level of force, including using tear gas, to disperse the crowd after some threw objects at police some defaced buildings. It added that officers asked the organiser to the halt the rally in view of the violent incidents.
Last updated: 2020-01-19 HKT 18:58
Chaos as Chater Garden rally is cut short
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