07/08/2019, 13.25
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Protests continue in Hong Kong, six arrested overnight

Clashes follow a peaceful protest that attracted nearly 230,000 people. At the end of the rally, many participants decided to occupy the streets. Police, in riot gear, tried to disperse the crowd and clashed with the protesters.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hong Kong police arrested six people overnight after a peaceful demonstration against the extradition bill turned into clashes between protesters and police in the Mong Kok shopping district. The violence broke out at around 7.30 pm after the rally ended.

An estimated 230,000 people gathered in Kowloon, north of Hong Kong Island and south of the New Territories. Police put the number at 56,000 at its peak.

At the end of the rally, many participants decided to occupy the streets in the vicinity of Canton Road, which they blocked around 8 pm to 9 pm. Thousands marched northbound of Nathan Road passing through Jordan, until they arrived in Mong Kok.

At around 10.30pm, scores of police officers formed a cordon line to stop protesters from going any further. Protesters took out their umbrellas in case police used force to disperse them.

The authorities warned the demonstrators that they were taking part in an illegal assembly. The agents, in anti-riot gear, tried to disperse the crowd, clashing with the protesters.

By midnight, police had largely taken back the streets in Mong Kok, but dozens were still gathering in different parts of the area.

Soon after 3 am on Monday police issued a statement saying they had arrested six people in connection with the march and the running battles that followed. Four men and two women, aged between 20 and 66, were in custody, police said.

One was arrested during the march for failing to produce proof of identity, whilst the other five were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and obstructing officers in the execution of their duties.

In recent weeks, the campaign against the extradition bill – now suspended by the Hong Kong government – has held the former British colony in check.

After the demonstrations on 9 and 16 June, many groups vowed to continue protests and sit-ins, doggedly asking for the resignation of the chief executive, Carrie Lam.

Many parties (diocese, political figures, etc.) have called on the government to heed the frustration of the people of Hong Kong, but Ms Lam remains firm in her position: She will delay the bill, but has no plan to cancel it.

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