Text: Jerome Taylor and Elaine Yu. Photography: Kris Cheng. Video: Tom Grundy.
Police fought with protesters in Hong Kong early Monday, using batons and pepper spray as they tried to clear demonstrators from the city’s parliament after massive crowds marched against plans to allow extraditions to China.
Protesters hurled bottles and used metal barricades as police moved in on a small group who had vowed to stay outside the legislature overnight, an AFP reporter on the scene said.
At least one police officer could be seen with blood streaming down his face.
The melees began shortly after midnight following a day that had seen a huge peaceful protest make its way through the city without incident.
Organisers said more than a million people marched in blazing summer heat through the cramped streets of the financial hub’s main island on Sunday in a noisy, colourful demonstration calling on the government to scrap its planned extradition law.
Small groups of young protesters had planned to stay outside the city’s legislature until Wednesday when the extradition bill is due to have its second reading.
But police moved in on them after their permission to protest expired at midnight.
Within minutes scenes of chaos unfolded as protesters fought with officers who were soon backed by riot police.
Live television images showed officers deploying pepper spray hoses to push the crowds back.
The scenes were reminiscent of 2014 when police used tear gas to disperse pro-democracy demonstrators outside the same building, sparking public anger and setting off two months of demonstrations that took over key intersections of the international finance hub.
The Hong Kong Free Press #PressForFreedom 2019 Funding Drive seeks to raise HK$1.2m to support our non-profit newsroom and dedicated team of multi-media, multi-lingual reporters. HKFP is backed by readers, run by journalists and is immune to political and commercial pressure. This year’s critical fundraiser will provide us with the essential funds to continue our work into next year.
Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.