Another weekend of unrest as violent scuffles break out in Hong Kong
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Jan 25, 2020,
Jan 25, 2020, 0:25
Before the rally started, police officers had been dispatched to guard several buildings considered "high risk" in the vicinity of Chater Garden, such as the police headquarters, Bank of China Tower and HSBC Main Building, while others were seen patrolling near the Central and Admiralty MTR stations as well as conducting checks on black-clad pedestrians. They are also demanding free elections.
Earlier in the day, Lau said he believes more large-scale protests are needed for global attention to return to Hong Kong, adding: "I think Hong Kong has not been the focus of the world anymore". While the framework of "one country, two systems" promises the territory more democratic rights than those granted to the continent, the demonstrators affirm that their freedoms have been progressively eroded under Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Anger has grown over the months due to perceptions that Beijing was tightening its grip over the city, which was handed over to China by Britain in 1997 in a deal that ensured it enjoyed liberties unavailable in the mainland.
The protests, which have since broadened to include demands for universal suffrage and an independent investigation into police handling of the demonstrations, have lost some of their intensity in recent weeks.
Out in numbers, police intervened quickly after the authorized rally turned into an impromptu, and unauthorized, march - firing volleys of tear gas and making arrests.
Trouble flared when police ordered the authorised gathering to disperse after officers conducting stop and searches on nearby streets had water bottles and paint thrown at them by angry crowds.
The statement outlined the "universal suffrage of "one person, one vote" as an ultimate aim" enshrined in the city's de facto constitution, known as the Basic Law.
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The aim is to reach a binding agreement in the next few months, though there's no guarantee of that time-frame, it added.
The Hong Kong police gave approval for Sunday's rally, but not for a march that organizers also are planning.
In response to Sunday's rally, Hong Kong's government released a statement that warned against any foreign involvement. Organisers had applied for a permit for a march, which was denied, but police did approve a rally as long as it stayed in one place.
The crowd gathered and blocked the surrounding streets with some protestors briefly barricaded roads with umbrellas, traffic cones and other street furniture.
The demonstrators were reportedly arrested under the charges of illegal assembly and possession of offensive weapons.
Demonstrations have repeatedly ended in clashes between anti-government protesters and police.
Participants shouted, "Let's restore Hong Kong", and "Don't tolerate police violence".
Two officers were seen with bloody head wounds as colleagues shielded them from further attacks.