Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police at the Yuen Long MTR station in Hong Kong on Wednesday, August 21, in the eleventh consecutive week of anti-extradition bill protests in the city. The demonstration, which was intended to be a peaceful rally, passed without incident until Wednesday evening (local time), when dozens of protesters confronted police outside the station. Demonstrators reportedly shone laser pointers and sprayed fire extinguishers at the police, prompting clashes. Barricades erected by the protesters prevented police from entering the station. Police refrained from deploying tear gas, rubber bullets, or beanbag rounds to quell the protest. The standoff lasted for nearly two hours.
Further anti-government protests are expected over the coming days. Secondary school students plan to march through Central on Thursday, August 22, from 15:00-19:30, starting at Edinburgh Place. Accountants are expected to rally in Central at Chater Garden at 12:30 on Friday, August 23, before traveling to the government headquarters. Activists also plan to hold a human chain rally under the banner "Hong Kong Way" on Friday along the Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, and Island MTR lines from 19:00 until 21:00. Protesters will hold hands along the sidewalks at all stations on the aforementioned MTR lines to peacefully protest in support of democracy.
On Saturday, August 24, a rally will be held at Chun Yip street playground in Kwun Tong starting at 13:00. Participants will then start marching at 13:30 to the Kwun Tong Swimming Pool. Additional marches are scheduled to be held on Sunday in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing, as well as by relatives of police officers at Edinburgh Place (Central).
Heightened security measures and localized transportation disruptions are anticipated around all demonstrations. Clashes between security personnel and demonstrators cannot be ruled out.
Protests and mass demonstrations of up to 2 million people have been held in Hong Kong since June 9, in opposition to a controversial bill that would allow authorities in 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 The bill has been suspended, though not fully withdrawn. Demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. 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. Activists have also accused the police of using unnecessary force in their attempts to disperse protesters.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations and accompanying clashes, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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