09/30/2019, 15.38
HONG KONG – CHINA
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Hong Kong police ban protest on 1st October

by Paul Wang

The Civil Human Rights Front warns that ban on peaceful demonstrations could lead to even greater violence. Yesterday, protests were held to commemorate Occupy Central. For Xinhua, the latter was the starting point of the collapse of the rule of law in Hong Kong. Protesters and police clashed violently. A plainclothes officer fired lived ammunition.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Hong Kong police will not allow a protest tomorrow, 1st October, the National Day of the People's Republic of China. The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) lost before the appeal board after police warned of a very high risk that protests could degenerate.

In fact, police warn that some protest messages are inciting people to kill members of the police and the public. Conversely, the CHRF’s lawyer, Douglas Kwok, noted that the CHRF is a reliable organisation that has always held peaceful demonstrations, attracting millions. In his view, not allowing peaceful protests could lead to even greater violence at tense times like today’s.

In the end, the CHRF cancelled tomorrow's rally on the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China proclaimed by Mao Zedong. However, unauthorised gatherings are likely to occur in many areas of Hong Kong.

For more than three months, the former British colony has been the scene of protests that have sometimes ended in clashes with the police. Protesters initially demanded the withdrawal of a bill that would have allowed extradition to China. Eventually, their demands increased to include full democracy, respect for the principle of one country-two system and the rule of law, as well guarantees for Hong Kong’s open society.

For Xinhua, pro-democracy demonstrations are instead undermining the rule of law in Hong Kong. In a comment released yesterday, the state news agency said Occupy Central was the starting point of the collapse of the rule of law in the former British colony.

In 2014, the Occupy Central movement saw people hold sit-ins in the central locations on Hong Kong Island with up to 800,000 people demanding full democracy for the Autonomous Region. The movement lasted almost three months, and for many in Hong Kong it was a turning point, especially among the young, in terms of political consciousness.

Over the weekend, especially yesterday, several unauthorised gatherings marked Occupy's fifth anniversary with police and demonstrators clashing in some locations.

Police sprayed protesters with dyed-water to facilitate identification and arrest. It also used pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets. A policeman fired live ammunition in Wan Chai.

A police spokesman said that a group of policemen had been surrounded and that one officer fired a warning shot in the air. The Ming Pao newspaper (picture 2) published a photo showing two unhindered plainclothes officers.

Elsewhere, protesters threw stones and firebombs, causing fires at several locations. Yesterday afternoon, police directly attacked groups of protesters, often using excessive force. Anti-riot police arrested at least 100 people, including peaceful protestors.

The Hospital Authority announced that as of Monday morning, 48 people had been hospitalised due to the previous day’s clashes, with one woman in serious condition.

As night fell, some protesters smashed up an empty taxi under the Canal Road Flyover in Causeway Bay. The driver had been accused of driving his vehicle towards a group of journalists earlier in the day, but he was later escorted away by police.

On Saturday, the police injured an Indonesian journalist to the eye (picture 3). Press groups criticised violence and threats against journalists covering the protests. Police often drive photographers and reporters away by beating and pepper spraying them.

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