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Flash mobs break out in Hong Kong as anti-government protests resume

Anti-government protests have resumed in Hong Kong as restrictions in the city began to ease, following a period of enforced calm due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Riot police chased protesters through Hong Kong’s shopping malls and streets on Sunday as democracy activists launched Mother’s Day flash mob rallies calling for independence and for the city’s unpopular leader to resign.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city was convulsed by seven straight months of often violent pro-democracy protests last year with millions hitting the streets 

Anti-government protesters wearing protective masks sing songs and make gestures during a demonstration at a shopping mall today. Since the worst of the current coronavirus pandemic has passed, new anti-government protests have recently started to reappear in Hong Kong

Riot police wearing protective masks charge on a street during a demonstration in Mongkok district on Sunday

Riot police wearing protective masks charge on a street during a demonstration in Mongkok district on Sunday 

A pro-democracy demonstrator (centre) is held on the ground before getting arrested by undercover police during a protest calling for the city's independence in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong

A pro-democracy demonstrator (centre) is held on the ground before getting arrested by undercover police during a protest calling for the city’s independence in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong

Mass arrests and the coronavirus pandemic ushered in a period of calm.

But with the finance hub successfully tackling its outbreak small protests have bubbled up once more in the last fortnight.

Small flashmob demonstrations broke out in at least eight malls throughout Sunday afternoon prompting riot police to rush in and disperse heckling crowds of activists and shoppers.

At least three arrests were made while groups of officers conducted multiple stop and searches.

A cleaner wipes an escalator handle as riot police patrol during a demonstration in a shopping mall on May 10

A cleaner wipes an escalator handle as riot police patrol during a demonstration in a shopping mall on May 10

Anti-government protesters wearing protective masks sing songs and make gestures during a demonstration at a shopping mall on May 10

Anti-government protesters wearing protective masks sing songs and make gestures during a demonstration at a shopping mall on May 10

Riot police wearing protective masks stand guard during a demonstration in a shopping mall on May 10

Riot police wearing protective masks stand guard during a demonstration in a shopping mall on May 10

Live broadcasts also showed police issuing $2,000 ($260) on the spot fines to those allegedly breaching emergency anti-virus measures banning more than eight people gathering in public.

Hong Kong celebrates the American Mother’s Day and protester chat groups had pushed the occasion to focus on chief executive Carrie Lam, a Beijing loyalist appointee.

At the start of last year’s protests, Lam likened herself to an exasperated mother – and protesting Hong Kongers to demanding children – in comments that only poured oil on the fire of public anger at the time.

Riot police detain a group of people during an demonstration in Mongkok district on May 10

Riot police detain a group of people during an demonstration in Mongkok district on May 10

Riot police hold back members of media during a demonstration in Mongkok district

Riot police hold back members of media during a demonstration in Mongkok district

Riot police detain a group of people in Mongkok. Authorities banned an application for a Mother's Day march so small groups of masked protesters instead played cat and mouse with police in different shopping centres, a tactic used frequently last year

Riot police detain a group of people in Mongkok. Authorities banned an application for a Mother’s Day march so small groups of masked protesters instead played cat and mouse with police in different shopping centres, a tactic used frequently last year

Authorities banned an application for a Mother’s Day march so small groups of masked protesters instead played cat and mouse with police in different shopping centres, a tactic used frequently last year.

‘This is just a warm-up, our protest movement needs to start again,’ a university student who gave his name as ‘B’ told AFP.

‘It’s a sign that the movement is coming back to life, we all need to wake up now.’

In the evening clashes spilled onto the streets, with police using batons and pepper spray in the busy commercial neighbourhood of MongKok, and making more arrests, including of a pro-democracy lawmaker.

Riot police wearing protective masks charge on a street during a demonstration in Mongkok district on May 10

Riot police wearing protective masks charge on a street during a demonstration in Mongkok district on May 10

Riot police detain protesters on Sunday evening in Mongkok. In the evening clashes spilled onto the streets, with police using batons and pepper spray in the busy commercial neighbourhood of MongKok, and making more arrests, including of a pro-democracy lawmaker

Riot police detain protesters on Sunday evening in Mongkok. In the evening clashes spilled onto the streets, with police using batons and pepper spray in the busy commercial neighbourhood of MongKok, and making more arrests, including of a pro-democracy lawmaker

Riot police wearing protective masks secure an area during a crowd control operation in Mongkok district on May 10

Riot police wearing protective masks secure an area during a crowd control operation in Mongkok district on May 10

Lam, who has been staunchly backed by Beijing, has record low approval ratings.

She has resisted calls for universal suffrage or an independent inquiry into the police’s handling of the protests.

In the New Year she vowed to heal the divisions coursing through Hong Kong but her administration has offered little in the way of reconciliation or a political solution.

Riot police wearing protective masks stand guard during a demonstration in a shopping mall on May 10

Riot police wearing protective masks stand guard during a demonstration in a shopping mall on May 10

Riot police wearing protective masks patrol during a demonstration in a shopping mall on May 10

Riot police wearing protective masks patrol during a demonstration in a shopping mall on May 10

Plans to pass a law banning insulting China's national anthem sparked scuffles in the city's legislature on Friday

Plans to pass a law banning insulting China’s national anthem sparked scuffles in the city’s legislature on Friday

Arrests and prosecutions have continued apace while Beijing’s offices in the city sparked a constitutional row last month by announcing a greater say in how Hong Kong is run.

Plans to pass a law banning insulting China’s national anthem sparked scuffles in the city’s legislature on Friday.

Top Beijing officials have suggested opposition lawmakers who blocked the bill with filibustering could be prosecuted and have also called for a new anti-sedition law to be passed.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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