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Violence spreads across Hong Kong New Territories on 24th weekend of unrest

Protesters daubed graffiti on shop fronts in Kowloon Tong and “stormed” shops in Tsuen Wan, police said.

FILE: Masked protesters use umbrellas as Hong Kong police fire tear gas during a pro-democracy rally in Kowloon district in Hong Kong on 20 October 2019. Picture: AFP

HONG KONG – Violence broke out on Sunday across the New Territories of Hong Kong on the 24th straight weekend of anti-government protests, with police firing tear gas to break up rallies as black-clad activists blocked roads and trashed shopping malls.

They have been loitering in several malls and vandalising shops and facilities therein, neglecting the safety of members of the public.”

Protesters daubed graffiti on shop fronts in Kowloon Tong and “stormed” shops in Tsuen Wan, police said.

Last weekend, anti-government protesters crowded into a shopping mall when a man slashed people with a knife and bit off part of a politician’s ear.

The protesters are furious at what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the former British colony’s freedoms, guaranteed by the “one country, two systems” formula in place since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

China denies interfering in Hong Kong and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble.

‘ESCALATE ANGER’

Thousands of people gathered on Saturday night at a vigil for “martyrs”, after a student died in hospital this week following a high fall.

Though the vigil ended peacefully, many attendees called for revenge after the student’s death from injuries sustained during a protest.

Seven pro-democracy city lawmakers have been detained or face arrest and are due to appear in court on Monday on charges of obstructing a May meeting of the local assembly, police and several of the lawmakers said.

“We believe that the government together with the police, as well as the pro-establishment camp, they are trying to escalate the anger of Hong Kong people in order to cancel or even to postpone the upcoming district council election,” Tanya Chan, a pro-democracy lawmaker, told reporters on Saturday.

One of the arrested lawmakers, Gary Fan, said the detentions were the result of “political prosecutions and judicial crackdowns” by Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.

The elections are due on 24 November.

Protesters have also called for a general strike on Monday and for people to block public transport, although such calls in the past have often come to nothing.

Protesters have thrown petrol bombs and rocks at police who have responded with tear gas, pepper spray, water cannon, rubber bullets and several rounds of live ammunition. They deny using excessive force.

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