Water cannon, tear gas deployed amid major protest - RTHK
A A A
Temperature Humidity
News Archive Can search within past 12 months

Water cannon, tear gas deployed amid major protest

2020-05-24 HKT 15:42
Share this story facebook
  • Water cannon, tear gas deployed amid major protest
  • Police deployed water cannon and tear gas in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay, as protesters move quickly to stay one step ahead of riot officers. Photo: RTHK
    Police deployed water cannon and tear gas in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay, as protesters move quickly to stay one step ahead of riot officers. Photo: RTHK
  • Police say they are using the minimum force necessary to stop 'rioters' from committing unlawful and violent acts. Photo: RTHK
    Police say they are using the minimum force necessary to stop 'rioters' from committing unlawful and violent acts. Photo: RTHK
  • Police say 'rioters' smashed up the windows of a clothing shop in Causeway Bay. Photo: RTHK
    Police say 'rioters' smashed up the windows of a clothing shop in Causeway Bay. Photo: RTHK
Police say they have arrested at least 120 people on Sunday after thousands flaunted the government’s coronavirus gathering ban to protest Beijing’s plan to impose national security laws in Hong Kong.

In some of the worst clashes in months, officers repeatedly used tear gas in the busy shopping areas of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, while the police’s water cannon was unleashed on protesters on Canal Road, as protesters smashed traffic lights, blocked traffic on major streets, dug up bricks, and set small fires.

The force says at least four media liaison officers were hurt after they were allegedly struck by bricks thrown towards the police by the Canal Road Flyover. In a statement, police said several were struck on their legs, while one was hit in the helmet. Police also say people have been throwing glass bottles down from buildings.

One officer was hurt, the force said, when someone threw a brick through the window of his vehicle at Tin Lok Lane at around 6pm. He was taken to hospital.

Police also accused protesters of beating up at least two people during the afternoon protests.

Officers say a 41-year-old man was attacked by a group of ‘rioters’ at Lee Garden Road after getting into an argument people who were blocking the road.

They say he sustained injuries to his head, arms and back after being hit with umbrellas. The man has been brought to hospital, and police are investigating the case.

In another incident, the force said an online video showed a woman being attacked as she was apparently trying to remove objects that were obstructing traffic. They appealed to the woman to step forward.

Up to 4.30pm, the police say more than 120 people have been arrested, mostly on illegal assembly charges – reportedly including at least two pro-democracy district councillors, Raymond Li and Sam Yip.

The police's anti-riot vehicle shot out three or four bursts of a clear liquid at Canal Road shortly before 3.30pm, sending some journalists filming the scene to try to scramble out of the way.

Several bursts of tear gas were also fired at around the same time – by the Hysan Place mall, and at the intersection of Hennessy Road and Percival Street.

Police also accused protesters of beating up at least two people during the afternoon protests.

There was a series of clashes at Canal Road. Police say some officers were forced to retreat after firing off multiple rounds of tear gas, because people started throwing objects at them. Officers also responded with pepper-ball shots.

The force said in a series of statements that ‘rioters’ have been smashing up traffic lights, and blocked multiple roads with rubbish bins, traffic cones, water-filled barriers and railings.

It added that some had also broken windows at a shop in Causeway Bay, scattering glass all over the pavement, while others have been digging up bricks on the sidewalk to throw on the streets, 'endangering road safety'.

An life-sized golden mannequin was left lying on the sidewalk, and some protesters even scattered durian peels on the streets as part of their makeshift barricades.

"Police are taking resolute action to make arrests and to stop the unlawful and violent acts. The Specialised Crowd Management Vehicle and minimum necessary force have been deployed”, the statement said.

The force also warned people to stay away from the area, while residents are urged to stay indoors and keep their windows closed if necessary.

Hundreds of protesters had gathered in Causeway Bay at around 1pm to protest against Beijing’s plans to directly enact national security laws in Hong Kong, as well as a proposed national anthem law that would ban any misuse or mockery of ‘The March of the Volunteers’.

While many anti-government slogans were chanted, the one that was repeated the most often on Sunday was 'Hong Kong Independence is the only way out!'

Riot police have been sweeping up and down major streets in the area, deploying pepper spray and tear gas, but meeting little direct resistance, with protesters quickly running off before the officers show up.

Often, only crowds or journalists and passersby carrying shopping bags are left by the time riot police show up to demand people get off the streets.

Police also responded to an online video showing one officer grabbing a bottle of water from a convenient store in the area without paying, saying the force subsequently paid for the product.

In the evening, the trouble appeared to be spreading to other districts. The police said they are investigating reports that dozens of people protesting in Tsim Sha Tsui in apparent violation of the gathering ban.

Officers have been seen inside the Ocean Terminal shopping centre, while officers are also stopping and searching people in Mong Kok.


______________________________
Last updated: 2020-05-24 HKT 18:50