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Sporadic protests continue into the evening

2020-05-24 HKT 20:52
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  • Sporadic protests continue into the evening
A mass protest in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay against Beijing’s plans to enact national security laws in the SAR dragged on into Sunday evening as scattered groups of protesters continued putting debris on the roads even as riot police kept a heavy presence in the area.

However, the violence seen during the afternoon has abated, with no major clashes seen after night fell.

Police had fired multiple volleys of tear gas on several occasions during the afternoon, mostly near the Canal Road Flyover, in the first use of the crowd-control weapon here in four months, and deployed their water cannon against protesters briefly.

The force also reported that a number of officers were hurt after apparently being struck by bricks and other projectiles. One officer was injured after a brick was reportedly chucked through the window of his car.

The Hospital Authority said a woman who was apparently hurt during the protests, was in a critical condition at Ruttonjee Hospital as of Sunday evening.

As the violence waned, Police put up roadblocks at the Hung Hom exit of the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, stopping some vehicles, and boarding a number of buses.

An RTHK van was among those stopped by officers. Officers let them go after taking a look at the equipment stored in the back.

There was also some sporadic reports of trouble across Kowloon in the evening.

In Tsim Sha Tsui, police said dozens of protesters had gathered at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre to chant slogans in apparent violation of the government’s gathering ban.

Officers gave chase and subdued many of the protesters. Around a dozen were taken away.

The online news outlet, Stand News, said a female journalist who was filming the apparent arrests was grabbed from behind by an officer and pushed away.

There was also a brief standoff in Mong Kok outside the Langham Place mall between a group of protesters who set up a wall of umbrellas as officers ordered them to disperse.

Some people also scattered Styrofoam boxes on the street, while a group chanted anti-government slogans inside the shopping centre.

Police stopped and searched some people, handing some HK$2,000 penalty tickets for apparently violating the ban on public gatherings of over eight people.

At least two young men with their hands tied behind their backs were taken away by police after being searched on Nelson Street. Later, a young man was led away in handcuffs by Langham Place mall.

Police said as of 9.30pm, at least 180 people have been arrested.

Amnesty International Hong Kong criticised the mass arrests, accusing the police of using “excessive force” against the “largely peaceful” protesters.

In a tweet, the rights group said “The national security law proposed by China this week is a terrifying assault on human rights in Hong Kong, and to peacefully protest against it is not a crime.”

It also spoke out against Beijing’s contention that introducing national security legislation would bring stability to Hong Kong, saying “attempts to crack down on people’s human rights will not bring stability but provoke more anger and more unrest on the streets.”

The government issued a statement ‘strongly condemning’ the ‘serious violence’ in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.

A spokesman said the latest unrest demonstrates the urgency and necessity of the proposed national security legislation.

He added that the violence signals that “independence advocates” and “violent elements" are still running rampant.

Last updated: 2020-05-24 HKT 22:12