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Hong Kong protests turn violent again as police charge huge crowd of protesters

Hong Kong pro-democracy protests have taken another violent turn as a standoff in a working-class neighbourhood descended into chaos. 

Hong Kong riot cops fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of stones, bottles and bamboo poles on Saturday, breaking an uneasy peace that had lasted several days. 

Frontline protesters – known as ‘braves’ – pulled together a barricade of traffic barriers and bamboo construction poles. As the afternoon wore on some fired stones from slingshots, prompting a charge from police, wielding batons and pepper spray. 

The protesters called for the removal of ‘smart lampposts’ that raised fears of increased surveillance in the semi-autonomous region. One such lamppost was cut down by demonstrators in Kowloon with an electric saw.

Police and demonstrators clash during a protest in Hong Kong. Hong Kong riot cops fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of stones, bottles and bamboo poles on Saturday

Tear gas floats in the air as demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, August 24

Tear gas floats in the air as demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, August 24

Riot police fire tear gas during an anti-government protest march in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong. Members of the media stand in the background

Riot police fire tear gas during an anti-government protest march in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong. Members of the media stand in the background 

Riot police detain a protester at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24 as a standoff descended into violence, breaking an uneasy peace that had lasted several days

Riot police detain a protester at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24 as a standoff descended into violence, breaking an uneasy peace that had lasted several days

Riot police detain a protester at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24 as a standoff descended into violence, breaking an uneasy peace that had lasted several days

Riot police detain a protester at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24 as a standoff descended into violence, breaking an uneasy peace that had lasted several days

Riot police push an extradition bill protester during a march to demand democracy and political reform at Kowloon bay on August 24

Riot police push an extradition bill protester during a march to demand democracy and political reform at Kowloon bay on August 24

A protester is assisted after police fire tear gas during clashes after a rally in Kwun Tong on August 24

A protester is assisted after police fire tear gas during clashes after a rally in Kwun Tong on August 24 

Tears gas swept across the road as protesters retreated, leaving a trail of broken bottles and at least one small fire in their wake.

Several of the black-clad protesters were detained as officers swept through.

Hong Kong’s police force have become the target of the protesters’ ire for their perceived heavy-handed response to the months of demonstrations.

Antipathy has soared towards the police, who have used baton charges, rubber bullets and tear gas against hardcore protesters, but are also accused of beating peaceful demonstrators.

A demonstrator throws a stone as they clash with riot police during a protest in Hong Kong on August 24

A demonstrator throws a stone as they clash with riot police during a protest in Hong Kong on August 24

Tear gas floats in the air as demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, August 24

Tear gas floats in the air as demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, August 24

Tear gas floats in the air as demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, August 24

Tear gas floats in the air as demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong, August 24

Riot police detain a protester at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong as a standoff descended into violence. Tension rippled across Saturday's march, where a number of frontline radical demonstrators known as 'braves' had gathered

Riot police detain a protester at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong as a standoff descended into violence. Tension rippled across Saturday’s march, where a number of frontline radical demonstrators known as ‘braves’ had gathered

Police and demonstrators clash during protest on Saturday. The protesters called for the removal of 'smart lampposts' that raised fears of increased surveillance

Police and demonstrators clash during protest on Saturday. The protesters called for the removal of ‘smart lampposts’ that raised fears of increased surveillance 

Demonstrators wield umbrellas and bamboo poles during a protest in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Demonstrators wield umbrellas and bamboo poles during a protest in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

The city had appeared to have pulled back from a nosedive into violence, with the last serious clashes taking place a week and a half ago just after the city’s airport was paralysed by demonstrators.

But tension rippled across Saturday’s march, where a number of frontline radical demonstrators known as ‘braves’ had gathered.

‘I understand being peaceful will not solve the problem,’ 19-year-old student protester Ryan told AFP, giving one name.

‘The government won’t respond to peaceful protest. If I am arrested it is because I come out to speak for justice.’

Police chased hundreds of protesters, holding a line underneath a bridge but threatening a new charge.

Riot police clash with demonstrators during a protest in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Riot police clash with demonstrators during a protest in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Protesters, many carrying umbrellas, fill the streets durign a rally in Hong Kong on August 24. The protests started in opposition to a bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China

Protesters, many carrying umbrellas, fill the streets durign a rally in Hong Kong on August 24. The protests started in opposition to a bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China 

A policeman clashes with protesters at Kowloon Bay as a standoff descended into violence on Saturday, August 24

A policeman clashes with protesters at Kowloon Bay as a standoff descended into violence on Saturday, August 24

Protesters take part in an anti-government march in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong on August 24. Hong Kong has been engulfed in protests since early June

Protesters take part in an anti-government march in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong on August 24. Hong Kong has been engulfed in protests since early June

Police clash with protesters during a demonstration in Hong Kong on August 24

Police clash with protesters during a demonstration in Hong Kong on August 24 

Police detain a protester during a demonstration which took a violent turn on Saturday, August 24

Police detain a protester during a demonstration which took a violent turn on Saturday, August 24 

‘I’ve never seen Hong Kong in such a situation,’ 65-year-old Dee Cheung told AFP earlier, before explaining why he joined the protests.

‘The youngsters who come out have put their future at stake… they are doing this for Hong Kong.

‘There might be some things we don’t agree with, like the ‘braves’ who tend to charge. But let’s think about why they do that?’ 

Protesters fall back as they clash with police during a protest at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong's Kwun Tong district on August 24, as a standoff descended into violence

Protesters fall back as they clash with police during a protest at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong district on August 24, as a standoff descended into violence

A teenage extradition bill protester is seen during a march to demand democracy and political reforms in Hong Kong

A teenage extradition bill protester is seen during a march to demand democracy and political reforms in Hong Kong

Demonstrators attend a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24 as a standoff with riot police descends into violence

Demonstrators attend a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24 as a standoff with riot police descends into violence 

Demonstrators attend a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24 as a standoff with riot police descends into violence

Demonstrators attend a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24 as a standoff with riot police descends into violence

Demonstrators attend a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24 as a standoff with riot police descends into violence

Demonstrators attend a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24 as a standoff with riot police descends into violence

Demonstrators attend a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24 as a standoff with riot police descends into violence

Demonstrators attend a protest in Hong Kong, China, August 24 as a standoff with riot police descends into violence

The protesters called for the removal of ‘smart lampposts’ that raised fears of increased surveillance.

Activists fear the lampposts in Kowloon could contain cameras and facial recognition software.

One such lamppost has been cut down by demonstrators in Kowloon with an electric saw, while others pulled ropes tied around it. They cheered as it toppled over.

Riot police clash with protesters as a standoff descended into violence on Saturday, August 24

Riot police clash with protesters as a standoff descended into violence on Saturday, August 24

Riot police clash with protesters as a standoff descended into violence on Saturday, August 24

Riot police clash with protesters as a standoff descended into violence on Saturday, August 24

Riot police clash with protesters as a standoff descended into violence on Saturday, August 24

Riot police clash with protesters as a standoff descended into violence on Saturday, August 24

 

A demonstrator throws back a tear gas canister during a protest in Hong Kong on August 24

A demonstrator throws back a tear gas canister during a protest in Hong Kong on August 24 

Carrying umbrellas in the sweltering heat, protesters filled a main road in the Kwun Tong district and chanted slogans calling for the government to answer the movement’s demands.

March organizer Ventus Lau said: ‘Hong Kong people’s private information is already being extradited to China. We have to be very concerned.’

Some protesters set up makeshift barricades on a road outside a police station, facing off with police in riot gear.

Hong Kong’s government-owned subway system operator MTR shut down stations and suspended train service near the protest route, after attacks by Chinese state media accusing it of helping protesters flee in previous protests.

A flag of China is pictured on a gate of Radio Television Hong Kong Broadcasting House headquarters during a pro-China demonstration on August 24

A flag of China is pictured on a gate of Radio Television Hong Kong Broadcasting House headquarters during a pro-China demonstration on August 24 

A demonstrator carries bricks as they clash with riot police during a protest in Hong Kong on August 24

A demonstrator carries bricks as they clash with riot police during a protest in Hong Kong on August 24 

A demonstrator breaks bricks to throw them to riot police as they clash during a protest in Hong Kong on August 24

A demonstrator breaks bricks to throw them to riot police as they clash during a protest in Hong Kong on August 24 

The violence comes a day after union head at Hong Kong airline Cathay Dragon claimed she has been fired in retaliation for supporting the pro-democracy movement. 

The incident has added to the chill in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory and the spreading ‘white terror’ in the region. 

Cabin crew union chief Rebecca Sy told a news conference that the Hong Kong airline had dismissed her on Friday without giving a reason, but that the firing came after she was pulled from a flight and asked by an airline representative to confirm that screenshots from Facebook were from her account.

‘It’s not just about the termination of the job, it’s also the whole issue, it’s terrifying. All my colleagues are all terrified,’ she said. 

‘I feel so sorry for them because I’m no longer in that position to protect them.’

Cabin crew union chief Rebecca Sy (pictured) told a news conference that the Hong Kong airline had dismissed her on Friday without giving a reason, but that the firing came after she was pulled from a flight and asked by an airline representative to confirm that screenshots from Facebook were from her account

Cabin crew union chief Rebecca Sy (pictured) told a news conference that the Hong Kong airline had dismissed her on Friday without giving a reason, but that the firing came after she was pulled from a flight and asked by an airline representative to confirm that screenshots from Facebook were from her account

Riot police gather on a street in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24. Pilots and cabin crew at Hong Kong's flagship carrier have used the term 'white terror' to describe what they see as recent pressure on companies to sack those supporting the pro-democracy movement

Riot police gather on a street in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24. Pilots and cabin crew at Hong Kong’s flagship carrier have used the term ‘white terror’ to describe what they see as recent pressure on companies to sack those supporting the pro-democracy movement

Police argue with demonstrators through a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Police argue with demonstrators through a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24 

Cathay Dragon is owned by Hong Kong’s main carrier, Cathay Pacific, which has come under pressure from Chinese authorities for employing people who support the protests. 

The company said in a statement that Sy’s departure has nothing to do with her union activities.

‘Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, when deciding whether to terminate an employee, we take into account all relevant circumstances including applicable regulatory requirements and the employee’s ability to perform his/her job,’ the company said. 

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions called her firing a ‘blatant suppression and retaliation on her participation in the anti-extradition bill movement and her actions to mobilize her colleagues to participate as a trade union leader.’

Sy’s departure follows last week’s shock resignation of Chief Executive Rupert Hogg, the highest-profile corporate casualty of the unrest.  

Pilots and cabin crew at Hong Kong’s flagship carrier have used the term ‘white terror’ to describe what they see as recent pressure on companies to sack those supporting the movement.  

The term is used to describe a climate of fear as people become afraid to voice their political opinions. 

A protester arugues with policemen in Hong Kong's Kowloon Bay on August 24. Cathay Dragon is owned by Hong Kong's main carrier, Cathay Pacific, which has come under pressure from Chinese authorities for employing people who support the protests

A protester arugues with policemen in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay on August 24. Cathay Dragon is owned by Hong Kong’s main carrier, Cathay Pacific, which has come under pressure from Chinese authorities for employing people who support the protests

Protesters march from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city

Protesters march from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city

Protesters march from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city

Protesters march from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city

It comes as an employee at the British Consulate in Hong Kong who was detained in mainland China has been released. 

A spokeswoman at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed the release in a statement to the PA news agency on Saturday.

She said: ‘We welcome the release of Simon Cheng and are delighted that he can be reunited with his family.

‘We will continue to provide support to them.

‘Simon and his family have requested privacy and we would be grateful if this is respected.’

Public security authorities in Shenzhen said Mr Cheng was released as scheduled after 15 days of administrative detention.

The Luohu public security bureau in Shenzhen, the mainland city neighbouring Hong Kong, made the announcement on its Weibo microblog account.

Mr Cheng was detained for violating mainland Chinese law and ‘confessed to his illegal acts’, the statement said, without providing further details.

‘Simon is released. Simon is safe,’ Max Chung, a supporter of Mr Cheng told the Associated Press.

‘We’ve just managed to talk to him over the phone,’ he said, adding that Mr Cheng would answer any further questions, but did not say when.

Demonstrators kick a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Demonstrators kick a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24 

Police watch demonstratorsthrough a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR police station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Police watch demonstratorsthrough a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR police station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Protesters build barriers as they block a road in Hong Kong's Kowloon Bay on August 24, 2019

Protesters build barriers as they block a road in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay on August 24, 2019 

China said earlier this week that Cheng had been placed in administrative detention for 15 days for violating public order regulations. The Global Times, a Communist Party-owned tabloid newspaper, reported that Chen had been detained for soliciting prostitutes.

China often uses public order charges against political targets and has sometimes used the charge of soliciting prostitution. 

Ou Shaokun, an anti-corruption activist, alleged in 2015 that he was framed by authorities in southern Hunan province who said they found him in a hotel room with a prostitute.

The Canadian government updated its travel advice for China to warn of stepped-up border checks on smartphones, following reports that Chinese immigration officers were looking for protest-related photos. 

Supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement lined the streets and part of the city’s harbor front on Friday, inspired by a human chain in a historic Baltic states protest against Soviet control 30 years ago.

Some raised linked hands while others switched on their smartphone lights and held the devices aloft to create a row of white lights against the nighttime skyline. Organizers hoped the chains, which traced three subway routes, would total 40 kilometers (25 miles) in length.

It was the latest protest in a nearly 11-week-old movement that began with calls to scrap a now-suspended extradition bill and has widened to include demands for full democracy and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality at protests.

Supporters of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement lined the streets and part of the city's harbor front on Friday, inspired by a human chain in a historic Baltic states protest against Soviet control 30 years ago

 Supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement lined the streets and part of the city’s harbor front on Friday, inspired by a human chain in a historic Baltic states protest against Soviet control 30 years ago

Demonstrators link hands at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong with the city's iconic skyline as a backdrop on Friday, August 23

Demonstrators link hands at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong with the city’s iconic skyline as a backdrop on Friday, August 23

Pro-democracy protesters have continued rallies in Hong Kong against a now-suspended extradition bill since June 6

Pro-democracy protesters have continued rallies in Hong Kong against a now-suspended extradition bill since June 6

‘It actually enraged me, the way that the government, the (city’s) chief executive and then the police, how they carry out their jobs,’ said Michael Ng, who works in finance and joined the chain outside an upscale mall. ‘Very brutal, I would say. We are talking about human rights here.’

Police say their use of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds has been necessary to clear streets of protesters who have pelted them with eggs, bricks and gasoline bombs.

In a protest dubbed ‘The Baltic Way,’ nearly 2 million Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians formed a human chain more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) long on Aug. 23, 1989.

Organizers of ‘The Hong Kong Way’ said it was a show of solidarity against the extradition law and police violence, as well as a plea for international support.

Earlier Friday, accountants marched in support of the pro-democracy movement, while the Canadian Consulate banned its staff from leaving the city on official business after British Consulate employee Cheng was detained in mainland China.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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