Nearly 300 arrested in Mong Kok street protests - RTHK
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Nearly 300 arrested in Mong Kok street protests

2020-09-06 HKT 18:30
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  • Nearly 300 arrested in Mong Kok street protests
Police on Sunday arrested 289 people following a day of chaos in Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei, as people took to the streets for an anti-government rally on what would have been the day of the Legislative Council election.

Riot officers fired pepper balls in a Mong Kok shopping district to disperse protesters, and clashes erupted between police and demonstrators on multiple occasions.

Police said one woman was arrested on suspicion of breaching the national security law by chanting pro-independence slogans, 270 people were detained for alleged illegal assembly, and others were taken into custody on suspicion of assaulting the police, obstructing police officers and disorderly conduct in public place.

And 22 people were slapped with penalties for violating the ban on gatherings of more than two people.

There was trouble on the streets of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok on Sunday afternoon, with protesters hurling objects at the police and officers responded by firing pepper balls.

It all began with online calls for a rally in Jordan to denounce the government's decision to postpone the Legco election, as well as the national security law and the launch of the "health code".

The chaos lasted for hours into the evening.

In a confrontation at the intersection of Shantung and Sai Yee streets in Mong Kok, a group of plain-clothes officers subdued a number of people. Witnesses said officers used pepper spray against passers-by who voiced their displeasure with the police action.

The force also said it had found bags of bricks and stones in an alley in Yau Ma Tei and suspected that they were intended to be used in the protests.

And as night fell, police continued their stop-and-search operation in Mong Kok.

The League of Social Democrats said three of its core members – Leung Kwok-hung, Raphael Wong and Figo Chan – were arrested by the police near Eaton Hotel in Jordan. They were seen trying to protest against the government's decision to delay the Legco election but police quickly intervened and stopped them.

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was also seen outside Eaton Hotel earlier in Sunday afternoon. He said he wasn’t sure if he would join the march due to the heavy police presence.

“The sixth of September should be the election day and now Beijing delayed and even cancelled the election, which is totally unreasonable. The only way out is to restart and relaunch the election immediately,” he said.

One woman who turned up on Sunday, a retail worker surnamed Chan, said she wanted to voice opposition to the national security law and the government depriving her of her right to vote.

"We want to show the government that we're not afraid of the national security law... We want freedom, so no matter how they want to stop us to stand here, but we will keep standing (up)."

In a statement, a government spokesman denounced the action by protesters as unlawful and selfish. He said those spreading messages promoting Hong Kong independence could be in breach of the national security law, while violating the ban on gatherings of more than two people would increase the risk of Covid-19 infection in the community.
Last updated: 2020-09-06 HKT 21:25