Since June, protesters have thrown petrol bombs and vandalised banks, stores and metro stations. Police have fired rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons and, in some cases, live ammunition
Pro-democracy lawmakers slammed the government clampdown as a calculated move to provoke more violence as an excuse to postpone or cancel November 24 district elections. Police officers at a housing estate after clashing with protesters in Hong Kong, early Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (AP) Hong Kong protesters are planning a 24th straight weekend of pro-democracy rallies, including inside shopping malls across the Chinese-ruled city on Sunday, some of which have started peacefully in recent weeks and descended into violent chaos.
Protesters have also called for a general strike on Monday and for people to block public transport, calls that have come to nothing in the past.
Meanwhile, seven Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers have either been detained or face arrest on Saturday, in a move expected to escalate public fury a day after the death of a student linked to months of anti-government protests.
A police statement said three of the lawmakers had been detained and charged on Saturday with obstructing the local assembly during a raucous May 11 meeting over a now-shelved China extradition bill that sparked five months of protests calling for democratic reforms.
The others received summons to turn up at police stations Saturday to face arrest.
Pro-democracy lawmakers slammed the government clampdown as a calculated move to provoke more violence as an excuse to postpone or cancel November 24 district elections, low-level polls viewed as a barometer of public sentiment in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
The weekend starts with a rally on Saturday to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and a “support martyrs” assembly, both of which are likely to turn to protesters' demands for universal suffrage for the former British colony.
Police granted permission for a gathering at Tamar park, one of the rare approvals for a protest in recent weeks.
Candlelight vigils mourning a student who died after a high fall during a rally in the early hours of Monday quickly spiralled into street fires and cat-and-mouse clashes between protesters and police on Friday.
Police fired one round of live ammunition to warn what they called “a large group of rioters armed with offensive weapons” who threw bricks at officers trying to clear street barricades in the Kowloon area on Friday night, the police said in a statement.
“The lives of the officers were under serious threat,” said the statement, which was released early on Saturday.
The death of the student at a hospital on Friday is likely to fuel anger with the police, who are under pressure over accusations of excessive force as the territory grapples with its worst political crisis in decades.
Chow Tsz-lok, 22, fell from the third to the second floor of a parking lot as protesters were being dispersed by police.
Students and young people have been at the forefront of the hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets to seek greater democracy, among other demands, and rally against perceived Chinese meddling in the Asian financial hub.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula, allowing it colonial freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including an independent judiciary and the right to protest.
China denies interfering in Hong Kong and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble.
Since June, protesters have thrown petrol bombs and vandalised banks, stores and metro stations. Police have fired rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons and, in some cases, live ammunition.
Last weekend, anti-government protesters crowded a shopping mall in running clashes with police that saw a man slash people with a knife and bite off part of the ear of a politician.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies