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Hong Kong police arrest six at Kowloon protest

Hong Kong police arrest six at Kowloon protest

A protester reacts as he is detained by police officers during clashes between demonstrators and police in the Mong Kok district in Kowloon after taking part in a march to the West Kowloon rail terminus against the proposed extradition bill in Hong Kong on Jul 7, 2019. (Photo: AFP / VIVEK PRAKASH)

HONG KONG: Police arrested six people during a demonstration in one of Hong Kong's most popular tourist areas on Sunday (Jul 7), where thousands of protesters sought to raise awareness among mainland Chinese visitors about the political crisis that has rocked the city.

Protest organisers said 230,000 people marched through the streets of Kowloon, across the harbour from Hong Kong's Central business district, in the latest wave of demonstrations against an extradition Bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face trial.

Police put the number at 56,000 at its peak.

One person was arrested at a public procession in the afternoon, while another five were arrested during a later incident, according to a statement on the Hong Kong police's website.

"An organisation conducted a public event yesterday in which public procession started at 3.30pm from Salisbury Garden and finished at the open area of Wui Man Road outside Hong Kong West Kowloon Station," said the Hong Kong police in the statement dated Monday.

The event was "generally peaceful and orderly", said the police, adding that one person was arrested for failing to produce proof of identity.

After the event finished at about 5.30pm, some protesters then gathered in the vicinity of Canton Road and blocked the road from around 8pm to 9pm, said the police.

"From 9pm, protesters occupied northbound of Nathan Road, passing through Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan, Yau Ma Tei and arrived Mong Kok," said the statement. "Police made repeated warnings to the protesters that they were participating in an unlawful assembly and urged them to leave or police would take actions to disperse the crowd."

Officers then took action to disperse the protesters "after repeated but futile warnings", said the police.

"During the process, some protesters resisted and police arrested five persons for assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the execution of duties."

Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam suspended the extradition Bill after violent protests last month when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas, but she has rejected calls to scrap it.

Protests over the Bill have now morphed into calls for Lam to step down, investigations over what some describe as excessive police force and greater democracy.

Hong Kong has been governed under a "one country, two systems" formula since its return from British to Chinese rule in 1997, allowing freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest and an independent judiciary.

Critics say the extradition law could threaten Hong Kong's rule of law and its international reputation as an Asian financial hub. Some Hong Kong tycoons have already started moving personal wealth offshore.

Clashes broke out on Sunday as police moved to disperse some activists after they blocked roads following the largely peaceful protest over the bill that has plunged the former British colony into political turmoil.

On Jul 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule, protesters besieged and ransacked the legislative building in the heart of the city before being driven back by police firing tear gas.

Source: Reuters/na


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