Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hong Kong Protests Suppressed

Hong Kong riot police fired teargas and rubber bullets on the crowd and used batons to beat protesters on a peaceful march in the town of Yuen Long to condemn an attack by suspected gang members on commuters.  300,000 protesters and residents on Saturday afternoon defied a police ban to descend on the town in Hong Kong’s western New Territories. They marched to the mass transit station where masked men in white T-shirts had chased and beaten passengers the previous Sunday. Residents, activists and opposition lawmakers have accused the government and police of colluding with the triads in an attempt to suppress protests. Those attending the rally on Saturday said they were not there to make political demands, but to speak out against violence. Protesters chanted: “Black police” – a reference to the triads, known in Chinese as “black societies”.

Police fired volleys of teargas at protesters and also appeared to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at journalists. Amnesty International condemned the police’s response to protesters.

 Man-kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said: “There were repeated instances today where police officers were the aggressors; beating retreating protesters, attacking civilians in the train station and targeting journalists.” He added: “Such a heavy-handed response now appears the modus operandi for Hong Kong police and we urge them to quickly change course.”
The attack in Yuen Long and the response by authorities have added fuel to the protest movement, with rallies planned for Sunday and threatened “industrial action” from civil servants and other groups.
Protesters have vowed to hold the rallies anyway and to continue the movement. Max Chung, who helped organise the rally on Saturday, said he believed residents had shown their resolve: “Hong-kongers have stiffened their backs to say no to authoritarianism.”

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