Hong Kong police on Saturday used tear gas and water cannons against thousands of pro-democracy protesters on the streets for a new march.
Nearly five months after the start of the protest, their movement shows no sign of retreating. Dressed in black and wearing face masks despite the ban, thousands of pro-democracy protesters marched Saturday Saturday, November 2, on Hong Kong's Causeway Bay shopping district.
The authorities had agreed to an evening rally, but rejected a request for a march during the afternoon citing security concerns. As several times before, protesters ignored the ban and clashes quickly broke out with the riot police, which increased the number of arrests.
With sustained fire of tear gas and a water cannon, the police chased groups of protesters who blocked streets, built barricades and vandalized businesses, including shattering the office windows of the agency. Chinese state news press China. Some activists threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at the police. Rugby fans who came to the Wanchai district's bars to watch the World Cup final were caught in tear gas clouds.
"Protecting the freedoms we deserve"
Among those calling for demonstrations on Saturday was Joshua Wong, a figure in the pro-democracy movement whose bid for local elections has just been invalidated. "The exercise of freedom of assembly is becoming increasingly difficult as the Hong Kong police have been increasing pressure for a few months. Yet we do not give up our constitutional rights ", tweeted Mr. Wong, qualified by the Chinese state media to "Separatist" and "Traitor".
A former British colony returned to China in 1997, Hong Kong enjoys freedoms unknown in mainland China under its Basic Law (Regional Constitution), such as freedom of expression and demonstration and independent justice. But since the beginning of June, the territory has seen almost daily and increasingly violent demonstrations denouncing Beijing's growing interference and demanding democratic reforms.
"The government and the police have ignored and repressed the demands of the people so we must continue the movement to show them that we always want what we demand"An 18-year-old protester, Gordon Tsoi, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Saturday. "The government is fully controlled by the central government now, so we have to go out to protect the freedoms we deserve"added another protester, 17 years old.
On Friday, China issued a new warning, warning that it would not tolerate " no activity " of a nature to divide the country or threaten national security. Beijing said it wants "Strengthen national consciousness and patriotism" in Hongkong "Through education in Chinese history and culture".