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Protesters, police clash in Hong Kong

A protester throwing a bottle onto a burning barricade after clashing with police at an anti-government rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

A protester throwing a bottle onto a burning barricade after clashing with police at an anti-government rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

This comes on the fifth anniversary of a decision by China to curtail democratic reforms

Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon on Saturday as pro-democracy protesters threw petrol bombs in the latest in a series of clashes that have plunged the Chinese-ruled city into its worst political crisis in decades.

Police fired round after round of tear gas and protesters took cover behind umbrellas between the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army and the government. Protesters also threw bricks dug up from pathways at police.

The water cannon unleashed blue-dyed water, traditionally used elsewhere in the world to make it easier for police to identify protesters later.

Riot police then marched on foot towards the neighbouring Admiralty district, followed by 20 police cars, where protesters had thrown fire bombs from flyovers, some landing close to police. Others shone blue and green lasers at police lines. There were unconfirmed reports of an off-duty policeman being wounded.

In the Wanchai bar and restaurant district, police fought running battles with protesters, beating them with truncheons. There were several arrests.

Political reform

The protests, which at one point blocked three key roads, came on the fifth anniversary of a Chinese move to curtail democratic reforms and rule out universal suffrage in Hong Kong, a former British colony that was returned to China in 1997.

“The government today said rashly embarking on political reform again will further polarise society, which is an irresponsible act,” the government news.gov.hk website said.

“It noted any discussions on constitutional development have to be premised on the legal basis, and be conducted under a peaceful atmosphere with mutual trust in a pragmatic manner.”

The People’s Liberation Army on Thursday rotated its troops in Hong Kong in what it said was a routine operation.

The protests have gone on for three months, sometimes turning violent, and have targeted the airport, the legislature and the Liaison Office, the symbol of Chinese rule.

Watch | Hong Kong protests explained

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:48:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/protesters-police-clash-in-hong-kong/article29310561.ece

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