08/31/2019, 12.52
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Hong Kong protesters defy ban, clashing with the police

13th consecutive weekend of violence and demonstrations.  Fears mount of China's intervention: a paramilitary force is moving towards Shenzhen.  Today marks the fifth anniversary of Beijing's rejection of the request for universal suffrage in the city, which in 2014 triggered the "Umbrella Movement".



Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tear gas and water cannons were used to repel a crowd of protesters, who managed to force police barricades around the Legislative Council (LegCo) after the launch of bricks and Molotov cocktails: Hong Kong is braced for its 13th weekend of violent riots, after tens of thousands of people took to the streets, in defiance of police bans.

This morning, a Christian gathering in Wan Chai turned into an illegal march as people began to converge on Chater Garden, prompting authorities to close down recreational facilities and a subway station.  Meanwhile, there are growing fears of China's intervention in the Territory : Beijing media say a paramilitary force is moving towards Shenzhen, the mainland city on the border with Hong Kong.

The climate in the territory remains tense: yesterday the police arrested well-known democracy activists and at least three legislators, for their alleged involvement in previous demonstrations against the extradition bill - now suspended.  The anti-government protesters had called for a rally and a march today.  Citing public safety concerns, the police denied the permits and the Civil Human Rights Front was forced to cancel the events.  Already yesterday evening it was clear that the prohibitions would not stop the protests, while the police promised that they would enforce the law.

The authorities have erected new barricades near the Liason Office - the department that represents the central government of China - and brought water cannons to the streets, in anticipation of new clashes.  In the early afternoon, thousands of protesters flocked to the island of Hong Kong, blocking the streets.  In an attempt to evade the protest ban, the crowd carried crosses and sang "alleluia" like in religious gatherings, which do not require strict authorizations.  Today marks the fifth anniversary of Beijing's rejection of the request for universal suffrage in the city, which in 2014 triggered the "Umbrella Movement" (Occupy Central).

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