Hong Kong protesters rampage as police call for curfew

Hong Kong protesters rampage as police call for curfew

Protesters throw petrol bomb outside the Tsuen Wan police station in Hong Kong on Oct 2, 2019
Protesters throw petrol bomb outside the Tsuen Wan police station in Hong Kong on Oct 2, 2019. (Photo: AP/Vincent Thian)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong demonstrators clashed with police into the early hours of Thursday (Oct 3), venting their anger over the shooting of a teenager earlier in the week, as months of anti-government protests showed no sign of letting up.

Police urged the government to impose curfews to help curb the escalating violence in the Chinese-ruled city, where officers have become a target of protesters amid accusations of excessive force.

Activists went on the rampage in districts across the Asian financial hub late into the night, setting fires, blocking roads and vandalising shops and metro stations as police fired tear gas to disperse them.

READ: Hong Kong set to ban face masks in bid to curb violence: Reports

"Wherever there are protests nearby I'll come ... I'm out tonight for a simple reason. You don't shoot a teenager at point-blank range," said Alex Chan, an interior designer at a protest in the bustling shopping district of Causeway Bay.

"These protests will continue and we won't give up."

People attend a march in Causeway Bay in solidarity with the student protester who got shot by poli
People attend a march in Causeway Bay in solidarity with the student protester who got shot by police with live ammunition in Hong Kong, China on Oct 2, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Susana Vera)

Thousands took to the streets on Wednesday to denounce the shooting of an 18-year-old secondary school student, which police said was an act of self-defence.

The student was shot at point-blank range as he fought a police officer with a metal pipe on Tuesday, when demonstrators hurled petrol bombs at police who responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon.

He has been charged with rioting and assaulting an officer, police said.

READ: Officer feared for his life, say Hong Kong police in defending shooting of protester

READ: Hong Kong protester shot by police charged with rioting and assault

Rail operator MTR closed stations in districts including Po Lam, Hang Hau and Tseung Kwan O just before midnight on Wednesday as violence escalated once again. All affected stations had reopened later Thursday.

Police said on Thursday the protesters' acts "seriously undermined public order and posed a threat to the personal safety of police officers and members of the public".

Residents gather to protest a demonstrator shot at close range in the chest by a police officer
Anti-government protesters carry British flags as residents gather to protest a teenage demonstrator shot at close range in the chest by a police officer and condemn police tactics and demand accountability in Hong Kong on Oct 2, 2019. (Photo: AP/Kin Cheung)

A protester wears a face mask carrying a banner "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times"
A protester wears a face mask carrying a banner which reads "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times" as residents march to a Tsuen Wan stadium to stage a protest in Hong Kong on Oct 2, 2019. (Photo: AP/Vincent Thian)

Lam Chi-wai, chairman of Junior Police Officers Association, urged the city's leader to impose a curfew to maintain public order, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

"We are only an enforcement agency with limited power under the law. When facing such a series of massive rioting incidents, we cannot work alone - clapping only with one hand - without appropriate measures and support from top level," Lam said.

READ: Hong Kong on 'verge of extreme danger' as police arrest 269 over National Day violence

The Hong Kong public has become increasingly hostile towards police amid accusations of heavy-handed tactics. Police say they have shown restraint in the face of increased violence.

The lawyer for an Indonesian journalist injured when police fired a projectile during protests on Sunday said she will be left blind in one eye.

The European Union said in a statement it was deeply troubled by the escalation of violence in Hong Kong and the only way forward was through "restraint, de-escalation and dialogue".

READ: As protests rack Hong Kong, China watchdog has Cathay staff 'walking on eggshells'

The former British colony has been rocked by months of protests over a now-withdrawn extradition Bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, but have evolved into calls for democracy, among other demands.

The opposition to the Beijing-backed government has plunged the city into its biggest political crisis in decades and poses the gravest popular challenge to President Xi Jinping since he came to power.

READ: China's Xi Jinping vows to uphold 'one country, two systems' in Hong Kong

Protesters are also angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city's affairs despite a promise of autonomy in the "one country, two systems" formula under which Hong Kong returned to China in 1997.

China dismisses accusations it is meddling and has accused foreign governments, including the United States and Britain, of stirring up anti-China sentiment.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Reuters

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