Hong Kong protesters gear up for pro-democracy rally - GulfToday

Hong Kong protesters gear up for pro-democracy rally


An observer (centre) tries to mediate between the residents and the police in Tseung Kwan O Kowloon in Hong Kong. AFP

Anti-government demonstrators plan a rally on Monday evening after another weekend of unrest that saw protesters hurl petrol bombs and police reply with tear gas and rubber bullets, as violence in the Chinese-ruled city showed no signs of abating.

They blocked roads, attacked administrative buildings, firebombed Bank of China outlets.

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Activists said they planned to gather at Chater Garden in Admiralty district near government headquarters at 1100 GMT, a day after demonstrators rampaged across the territory.

Peaceful rallies descended into chaos on Sunday as activists and police clashed in chaotic scenes across the Asian financial hub. In one of the worst incidents, an officer was slashed in the neck by a protester and taken to hospital.

A fire burns inside a store targeted by protesters in the Sha Tin district in Hong Kong. Philip Fong/AFP

Demonstrators in the New Territories district of Tseung Kwan O coshed two plainclothes officers on the head with hard objects, police said. The officers were taken to hospital with head injuries.

In one of multiple attacks on frontline police, an officer was slashed in the neck with a box cutter during a confrontation in Kwun Tong.

Protesters threw more than 20 petrol bombs at a police station in the gritty working class district of Mong Kok across the harbour in Kowloon, and vandalised metro stations and mainland Chinese businesses or those deemed pro-Beijing.

A man takes pictures of a Bank of China building damaged by protestors in Tsuen Wan on Sunday. Felipe Dana/AP

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is due to deliver her annual Policy Address on Wednesday amid pressure to restore confidence in the government as it grapples with the city's biggest political crisis in decades.

The protests were sparked by a now-abandoned extradition bill but have widened into a pro-democracy movement and an outlet for anger at social inequality, in a city with some of the world's most expensive real estate.

Protesters make a barricade in the street in the Mongkok area of Kowloon in Hong Kong. Mohd Rasfan/AFP

The government said late on Sunday it found it “baffling” that visiting US Senator Ted Cruz said he had not seen any violent acts by protesters.

“While we respect the freedom of speech of foreign politicians, we consider that comments should be based on facts,” the government said.

“Everyone can see from media reports that violent protesters conducted violent and vandalistic acts on many occasions in Hong Kong in recent months.”

Cruz said on Saturday that Lam had scrapped a meeting with him. He did not give a reason why but said Lam's office had requested that the meeting be confidential.

The government said the meeting was cancelled because Lam had another commitment.

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