Thousands of people participated in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on Sunday, July 28, with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators. Sunday's protests marked another escalation in the violence associated with weeks-long demonstrations against a proposed bill that would allow individuals in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial for alleged crimes. Once used sparingly, police in Hong Kong fired rubber bullets and significant amounts of tear gas at protesters for a second consecutive night; some protesters threw eggs, bricks, and other objects at police while erecting barricades and blocking streets.
The clashes came after thousands of demonstrators gathered in Chater Garden (Central) on Sunday for an authorized demonstration, with some protesters then illegally marching eastward toward Causeway Bay and westward to protest outside the Central Government Liaison Office. As of the 23:00 hour (local time), hours-long tit-for-tat clashes had been reported in Sheung Wan between police and resilient demonstrators, with most protesters opting to head home via the Sheung Wan subway station. A heightened security presence and lingering transportation disruptions are to be expected in Hong Kong over the coming hours.
Additional protests are planned over the coming weeks. Demonstrations are expected to be held in western Hong Kong Island and Tseung Kwan O on August 4, Wong Tai Sin and Tai Po on August 10, Sham Shui Po and eastern Hong Kong Island on August 11, Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan on August 17, and Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing on August 18. A heightened security presence and transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
Police arrested 11 people following violent clashes with police during an unauthorized protest in Yuen Long (New Territories) on July 27. Dozens of people were injured during the demonstrations after riot police used tear gas, pepper spray, and batons to disperse the crowds. Protests and mass demonstrations of up to 2 million people have been held since June 9 in opposition to a controversial bill that would allow Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. Opponents claim the law would erode freedoms and be used to silence dissent and criticism. The bill has been suspended, though not fully withdrawn.
Protests have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. On July 14, clashes between police and protesters in a Sha Tin shopping mall left 22 people hospitalized. On July 21, a group of pro-government men armed with bars and sticks attacked protesters and commuters in Yuen Long, leaving 45 people injured.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence, avoid all public gatherings due to the risk of violence and arrest, refrain from discussing political subjects in public or on social media, remain vigilant for criminal and violent behavior, particularly during scheduled protest days and even in areas away from protest sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Copyright and Disclaimer