An illegal demonstration in Tsim Sha Tsui under strict police control triggered widespread clashes up to Mong Kong and Yau Ma Tei. The police also used violence against journalists. Protesters included members of ethnic groups present in Hong Kong: Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Westerners: “We too are Hong Kongers”. A thousand Catholics pray the rosary for peace.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Protests against the government entered week 21 and no conclusion can be seen. They started last June to challenge an extradition law in China, they have become a real movement that demands democracy and an end to police violence, accused of implementing a “police state”.
Yesterday afternoon, as in many past weekends, a thousand protesters gathered in the shopping district Tsim Sha Tsui, to criticize the use of “chemical weapons” by the police, referring to tear gas and water cannons.
The demonstration was illegal because without permission; moreover, several protesters had their faces covered, which is illegal under an emergency law that prohibits covering their faces in public places. As soon as policemen stopped some protesters asking for their identity, there were stone throws and screams; clashes followed which the police responded to with tear gas and water cannons.
Tensions spread throughout the area: near the Peninsula Hotel, on Mody Road near the Holiday Inn, Nathan Road, Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei.
The police also used violence against journalists: two of them were injured by rubber bullets; others were sprayed with stinging spray; still others were stopped and forced to take off the anti-gas mask, although they had the print tag and the recognition vest.
Radical groups of protesters set fire to an exit of Mong Kok station, which was closed along with that of Yau Ma Tei.
Among the protesters there are also members of ethnic groups present in Hong Kong: Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Westerners. Here and there written and slogans appear that link the Hong Kong protests to other demonstrations in the world: Barcelona, Chile, Lebanon, Iraq. Several expatriates converge together with the demonstrators giving them water or treating them after the tear gas: “We too – they say – are Hong Kongers.”
Last Saturday, October 26, more than a thousand Catholics from the Territory gathered at the Chater Garden to recite the rosary. The prayer was organized by the Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace with the theme “Sowing hope”.
The auxiliary bishop Msgr. Joseph Ha Chi-Shing recalled: “We are all children of God. Mutual respect is one of the ways to rebuild peace”. In addition, the bishop invited the faithful to pray the rosary every day at 10 pm for the creation of an independent commission of inquiry into the issue of the extradition law.