In Another Weekend of Protests in Hong Kong, Police Make Arrests Before a Rally Is Set to Begin

By Frank Fang and Nicole Hao

Clashes flared once again between protesters and local police in Hong Kong on Oct. 27.

Police made arrests before a rally was set to kick off, and firing tear gas and other crowd control weapons at protesters to disperse them.

The protests mark the 21st consecutive weekend of unrest stemming from opposition to an extradition bill, which was shelved following public pressure. Protesters have since expanded their demands to include universal suffrage in city elections and accountability for police use of force.

A second rally, held at 4 p.m. at the Kwun Tong Promenade, memorialized protesters who ended their lives, with residents making origami paper cranes. No clashes with police were reported at the scene.

Arrests

Thousands gathered at the Salisbury Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui for a rally to show solidarity with local Muslims and journalists. People could be heard shouting slogans such as “five demands, not one less” and “Hongkongers, resist.”

Last Sunday, Hong Kong police fired blue-dyed water onto the city’s largest mosque, drawing widespread condemnation, after which the city government apologized. A number of journalists have also been severely injured while in the line of fire during covering demonstrations.

Before the start of the rally, Hong Kong media reported that water cannon and armored vehicles were on standby at the Civil Aid Services Headquarters, which is about 1.7 miles away from Salisbury Garden.

Before 3 p.m. local time, large number of police had gathered at a local cultural center, which is about 5-minute walking distance from the Garden. At nearby areas, other police officers were spotted pulling locals over to check their bags and pulling cars over for an inspection.

According to local media, 7 people were arrested, including a 12-year old. Police have not yet released total arrest figures, nor the reasons for the arrests.

Dispersal

Around 3 p.m., as the rally was about to start, police started to disperse people by using pepper spray and swinging their batons. Local media reported that the rally organizer did not seek police approval for the assembly.

At around 3:40 p.m., police began firing tear gas and pepper spray at protesters who were outside Salisbury Garden. Many did not wear gas masks or other protective equipment. The event was unable to proceed.

Police continued to fire tear gas at crowds in nearby streets after protesters began taking up other areas upon leaving Salisbury Garden.

As nightfall set in, serious clashes took place in Mong Kok, which is north of Tsim Sha Tsui. According to Hong Kong media, police fired multiple rounds of tear gas and non-lethal rounds at protesters near the Mong Kong metro station.

Right before 6 p.m., police started to use its water cannon to disperse people. In contrast to the blue dye water that police have used before, this vehicle fired colorless water. Protesters said that the colorless water had the same smell as the blue dye. They and others who have been sprayed by police water cannon say they have skin irritation and other physical discomfort.

The station was shut down at around 7 p.m. local time, after some protesters threw petrol bombs at one of the entrances.

At about 9:30 p.m., police fired a tear gas canister into a pharmacy in the Yau Ma Tei neighborhood, injuring a woman who was inside.

Clashes continued into midnight on the streets of Mong Kok, as police kept on firing tear gas.

Journalists

Sunday’s rally was in support of journalists, but several were harassed injured by police that day.

At about 6:50 p.m., a reporter fainted on the ground after being hit by a tear gas canister in Mong Kok. Protesters nearby chastised the police for targeting the press.

At Sai Yeung Choi Street South, police forced several reporters to took off their protective masks, though riot police were still firing tear gas nearby—violating the government’s promise to give journalists an exception to the recent mask ban, due to their occupation.

Protesters are planning a rally at Victoria Park next weekend to support universal suffrage.

The Hong Kong bureau of The Epoch Times contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times