Hong Kong police fire tear gas as protesters trash shops

Hong Kong police fire tear gas as protesters trash shops

Hong Kong activists and police have clashed in multiple neighbourhoods after protesters held
Hong Kong activists and police have clashed in multiple neighbourhoods after protesters held flashmob protests and vandalism sprees inside malls AFP/Anthony WALLACE

HONG KONG: Hong Kong police fired tear gas to break up rallies as black-clad activists blocked roads and trashed shopping malls across the New Territories on Sunday (Nov 10) on the 24th straight weekend of anti-government protests.

Small groups of masked protesters held flashmob protests in multiple malls, trashing businesses deemed as being pro-China as well as subway station entrances, sparking brief cat-and-mouse clashes with police.

Protestors stormed the shops of Citywalk in Tsuen Wan, pushed the tables and chairs on the floor and sprayed paint on them, Hong Kong police said. They smashed up a Maxims' restaurant, perceived as being pro-Beijing.

Hong Kong protests reuters
A riot police officer tries to subdue a protester during an anti-government demonstration in Hong Kong on Nov 10, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

Protesters daubed graffiti and damaged shops at Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong and "stormed" shops in Tsuen Wan, police said. They made several arrests at Festival Walk where fistfights broke out and people hit each other with sticks.

Violence spilled out onto the streets of Tuen Mun outside the "V city" mall, with running battles between riot police and protesters.

Protesters also vandalised a train station in the central new town of Sha Tin a day after burning plastic barriers in Tsuen Wan, just two weeks before planned district council elections, the lowest tier of voting in the Chinese-ruled city.

Hong Kong protests Nov 10 2019
Police hold a front door of the Citywalk shopping mall closed, after advancing towards residents who backed into the shopping mall, in Tsuen Wan on Nov 10, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Anthony WALLACE)

Now TV showed pictures of a huge red welt on the upper arm of one of its reporters who said she had been hit by a tear gas canister in Tsuen Wan.

READ: Hong Kong police watchdog unequipped to probe protest response: Experts

READ: Huge Hong Kong rally after student dies and lawmakers arrested

The rail station was closed in Sha Tin on a day of planned shopping mall protests throughout the territory. Shopping districts across the harbour on the main island were quiet.

The violence spread to the Kowloon district of Mong Kok, one of the world's most densely populated areas. Police used water cannon and volley after volley of tear gas to try to clear the main artery of Nathan Road, which was littered with loose bricks under the bright, neon lights.

Police also fired tear gas late at night in the New Territories district of Tai Po, north of Sha Tin.

"Radical protesters have been gathering in multiple locations across the territories," police said in a statement.

"They have been loitering in several malls and vandalising shops and facilities therein, neglecting the safety of members of the public."

Hong Kong protests block road Nov 10 2019
Protesters set up barricades on a road in the Tuen Mun district of Hong Kong on Nov 10, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Philip FONG)

Last weekend, anti-government protesters crowded into a shopping mall when a man slashed people with a knife and bit off part of a politician's ear.

The protesters are furious at what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the former British colony's freedoms, guaranteed by the "one country, two systems" formula in place since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

READ: China supports more aggressive measures to tame Hong Kong unrest: Vice Premier Han Zheng

China denies interfering in Hong Kong and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble.

Hong Kong protests Nov 10, 2019
Volunteer medics help a resident who was pepper sprayed by police at the Citywalk shopping mall in Tsuen Wan on Nov 10, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Anthony WALLACE)

Thousands of people gathered on Saturday night at a vigil for "martyrs", after a student died in hospital this week following a high fall.

Though the vigil ended peacefully, many attendees called for revenge after the student's death from injuries sustained during a protest.

Seven pro-democracy city lawmakers have been detained or face arrest and are due to appear in court on Monday on charges of obstructing a May meeting of the local assembly, police and several of the lawmakers said.

Police pepper-spray locals and neighbourhood observers after they entered a housing estate in Tseun
Police pepper-spray locals and neighbourhood observers after they entered a housing estate in Tseung Kwan O in Hong Kong on Nov 9, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Riot police disperse anti-government protesters, after Chow Tsz-lok, 22, a university student, died
Riot police disperse anti-government protesters following the death of student Alex Chow Tsz-lok. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

"We believe that the government together with the police, as well as the pro-establishment camp, they are trying to escalate the anger of Hong Kong people in order to cancel or even to postpone the upcoming district council election," Tanya Chan, a pro-democracy lawmaker, told reporters on Saturday.

One of the arrested lawmakers, Gary Fan, said the detentions were the result of "political prosecutions and judicial crackdowns" by Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.

Hong Kong protests Nov 10, 2019 (1)
Police officers stand guard on a road in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov 10, 2019. (Photo: AP/Dita Alangkara)

The elections are due on Nov 24

Protesters have also called for a general strike on Monday and for people to block public transport, although such calls in the past have often come to nothing.

Protesters have thrown petrol bombs and rocks at police who have responded with tear gas, pepper spray, water cannon, rubber bullets and several rounds of live ammunition. They deny using excessive force.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Agencies/hm