12/16/2019, 00.00
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Hong Kong, tear gas and violence resume

by Paul Wang

Tear gas and the vandalism return to Mong Kok.  Sit-ins in shopping malls and arrests of teenagers.  At the Tamar Park demonstration in favor of Beijing and the Hong Kong police.  Carrie Lam in Beijing, visiting Li Keqiang and Xi Jinping.



Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - After two weeks of relative calm, Hong Kong police resumed the use of tear gas on pro-democracy protesters last night.  Radical fringes of the movement vandalized some pro-Chinese restaurants and shops.

The victory of the pro-democrats in the elections and the peaceful march (the first allowed after weeks) of December 8 seemed to have brought some calm to the territory,  shaken by demonstrations and police repression for six months.

The launch of tear gas took place yesterday in Mong Kok, where there was a rally.  A young reporter from Baptist University was wounded in the eye (photo 2).  Police also fired tear gas at Nathan Road and other areas of Kowloon.  Groups of demonstrators threw stones and vandalized a subway entrance.

During the day the police intervened to block some sit-ins that took place in at least seven commercial centers in the area.  In Shatin, in the New Town Plaza, the police used stinging sprays and made some arrests.  Among these also two secondary school adolescents.

Some masked militants vandalized restaurants in the Maxim's chain, which have become a habitual prey, after the owner's daughter criticized the pro-democracy demonstrations.

The movement continues to  uphold its "five demands", including the launching of an independent investigation into the excessive use of force by the police and the implementation of universal suffrage in the territory.

 Yesterday, at Tamar Park, thousands of people instead demonstrated in favor of China and Hong Kong police operations.  In opposition, a three-day strike by social workers began in Edinburgh Place in favor of the "five demands".

 Meanwhile, chief executive Carrie Lam is in Beijing for a visit and today she will meet Chinese president Xi Jinping.  This morning she met Prime Minister Li Keqiang who reiterated the confidence of the Chinese leadership, but also asked to "stop the chaos according to the law" and to "urgently study the deep conflicts and problems" present in the socio-economic development of  Hong Kong.

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