Illegal protest turns violent in Sai Wan

Updated: 2016-11-07 07:49

By Luis Liu in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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 Illegal protest turns violent in Sai Wan

Rioters set up a blockade on Des Voeux Road West in Sai Wan on Sunday night, blocking traffic on the road, after they attempted to storm the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR. Edmond Tang / China Daily

Hong Kong police arrested at least two people Sunday night as hundreds of radical and pro-independence protesters occupied roads near the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong on Sunday night in an illegal protest against Beijing's move to curb local separatism.

The protest, which started on Sunday afternoon, evolved into a riot at night, with crowds using bricks, glass bottles, umbrellas and bamboo rods as weapons in escalating clashes to push back police barricades.

The police urged the protesters to stop their provocations against police and leave the site peacefully. Otherwise they would take resolute enforcement actions against law-breaking behavior.

The police issued many rounds of warnings, urging the crowd to drop dangerous objects and stop charging the police cordon lines. However, the rioters rejected the repeated calls, occupying Connaught Road West and later Des Voeux Road West and refusing to leave.

The police had to use batons and pepper spray to maintain law and order, Hong Kong Island senior police Superintendent Tse Wai-kwok said in a media briefing Sunday night. The Hong Kong community supports the public expressing their views but in a rational and peaceful manner, Tse added.

The crowds continually demanded the police allow protesters to enter the parking lot of the building of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR and refused to cooperate with the police.

Two men, 39 and 57, were arrested for obstructing police officers and failure to produce identity documents for inspection.

The Sai Ying Pun MTR Station, in the vicinity of the illegal gathering, was temporarily closed until further notice following a police request on Sunday night.

The trouble began as protesters opposed to a proposed interpretation of the Basic Law by the nation's top lawmaking body broke away from a march, attempting to besiege the entrance and exit of the liaison office.

The protesters' violent tendencies reminded the city of the Mong Kok riot in February, in which nearly 100 police officers were injured as protesters hurled bricks from the sidewalk at police.

Today (Monday), the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will vote on the proposed Basic Law interpretation in Beijing.

Illegal protest turns violent in Sai Wan

(HK Edition 11/07/2016 page8)