Anti-extradition bill demonstrators block the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) train in Hong Kong, China on Tuesday. Tyrone Siu/ Reuters
Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters blocked train services during the early morning rush hour on Tuesday, causing commuter chaos in the latest anti-government campaign to roil the former British colony.
What started three months ago as rallies against an extradition bill that would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial, has now morphed into a wider backlash against the city’s government and its political masters in Beijing.
Protests have occurred almost daily, sometimes with little notice, disrupting business, piling pressure on Hong Kong’s beleaguered government and stretching the city’s police force, which some have accused of using excessive force.
Activists blocked train doors, playing havoc with services and forcing hundreds of people to stream out of railway stations in search of alternative transport.
“We don’t know how long we are going to stay here, we don’t have a leader, as you can see this is a mass movement now,” said Sharon, a 21-year-old masked protester who declined to give her full name. “It’s not our intention to inconvenience people, but we have to make the authorities understand why we protest. We will continue with this as long as need.”
Others chanted, “Liberate Hong Kong,” and “Revolution of our Time.”
By mid-morning commuters were crammed into stations across the city, waiting to board trains that were badly delayed, with no service on some lines.
Rail operator MTR Corp said urged people to seek other forms of transport.
Hong Kong, which returned to China in 1997, is embroiled in its worst political crisis for decades after two months of increasingly violent protests that have posed one of the gravest populist challenges to Communist Party rulers in Beijing.
China on Monday reiterated its support for Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, and its police and urged Hong Kong people to oppose violence.
The latest protest follows a demonstration at the Chinese-ruled city’s international airport on Friday and violent protests at the weekend when activists clashed with police who fired rubber bullets, tear gas and sponge grenades - a crowd-control weapon.
Some scuffles broke out between commuters and protesters, who gradually began to disperse, while more police were deployed in train stations, where they stopped protesters to search their bags.
Commuters grew increasingly frustrated over the travel disruption, and shops, including bakeries and convenience stores, had also begun to close.
“It’s so inconvenient and annoying, really. I am in hurry to work, to make a living. Will you give away your salary to me?” said a 64-year-old man surnamed Liu.
Others were more supportive, refusing to blame the protesters.
“This non cooperation movement is caused by Carrie Lam. She doesn’t cooperate with the people of Hong Kong or respond to their demands,” Jason Lo, 31, told Reuters as he waited for a train.
Two men were in a stable condition in hospital on Wednesday after Hong Kong police clashed with pro-democracy protesters overnight, as unrest that has gripped the Chinese-ruled city
Protesters were expected to gather in downtown Hong Kong on Saturday in the latest of a series of anti-government demonstrations that have plunged the Chinese-ruled
Hong Kong police fired tear gas at protesters on Monday as a general strike plunged the Asian financial hub into fresh chaos, paralysing transport and bringing the city to an
A number of areas in the country, on Tuesday, witnessed light to heavy rain, accompanied by lightning and thunder, because of the country being affected by a surface depression.
Drake added that Hale left a manifest and maps of the school detailing control points, entry and exit points, and was "prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement."
The Dubai Court of Misdemeanours sent an Asian one month behind bars and fined Dhs14,000, on the charges of conniving with a fugitive to steal two phones by force after he ordered them through an electronic shopping application.