Thursday, April 2, 2020

In Hong Kong, the police adapt their strategy to the perseverance of the protesters

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The police now seem to make brutal and increasingly arbitrary arrests to discourage the population from associating with disorder.

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Protesters receive tear gas in Hong Kong, China, on 2 November. AHMAD MASOOD / REUTERS

Squatting, at nightfall, near the rails of the tram that crosses the old popular district of Wan Chai, a small motley crowd of Hong Kongers, demonstrators or not, analyze the harvest of the last hours of confrontations with the anti-riot police: a few dozen cartridges and tear gas grenades. They take a picture of them, turn them over with a finger. "They changed suppliers. Now, they are suffocating us with gas made in China, they are more toxic … "says expert Marcus Lam, a protester covered in black from head to toe, like thousands of others who once again made an appointment in the streets of the island Saturday, November 2.

At the same time a few meters away, on the Southorn Playground, the walled sports ground adjacent to the "Wan Chai" metro station, closed for several hours, the police finishes boarding the tens, probably more than a hundred, protesters that she has, it seems, trapped like in a net, by making them return to one side of the stadium before closing the doors of the other. They are evacuated by bus, under the encouragement of a few dozen demonstrators stubborn, held at a distance by other police officers and risking as much as their colleagues an arrest on the spot for illegal gathering …

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"The situation is getting worse, it's undeniable"

In the sky, a helicopter, sometimes two, almost stationary above the confrontation zones, seem covered with blue, green, red claws … From the ground, the protesters aim with their lasers these "eyes" of the police who confer a new tactical superiority to the police. "I feel like the orders come from up there"says Pastor Colman Chan, who works as a social worker. Hearing the chaos approach, he came out "See if he could help" in his street, Wan Chai Road, a long narrow street, lined with shops and often bottled, which until Saturday afternoon had been spared by tear gas. "This is the first time we have gas even in this street! And it is the people of the neighborhood who are intoxicated. The situation is getting worse, it's undeniable, but I think it's the police that creates chaos … mainly ", he says, shaking his head, sorry.

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