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Democracy movement: Police in Hong Kong uses tear gas against government critics


Once again, after a peaceful protest march in Hong Kong, violent confrontations took place. The police stormed a park and arrested several people.

In Hong Kong, violent clashes erupted during a protest march. Policemen fired tear gas and rubber bullets at small groups of violent demonstrators in the city of Tuen Mun. Previously, demonstrators had thrown two incendiary devices at the approaching riot police.

Some government opponents set fire to Chinese flags, others built barricades. Many shops closed, the shutters were lowered. According to eyewitnesses, police arrested several demonstrators.

Thousands had gathered for the protest march after pro-Chinese groups tore down some of the so-called "Lennon Walls," a mosaic wall of government-critical messages on post-it notes. For weeks, tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong have been demonstrating against the growing influence of the Chinese government for weeks.

Activists build barricades

The demonstration in Tuen Mun near the border with mainland China had begun peacefully at first. In front of a government building, a small group of demonstrators ripped down a Chinese flag and burned it. Tensions increased rapidly after a police task force stormed a park where many protesters were gathering. There were a number of arrests.

Hundreds of activists then erected barricades and tore down fences to equip themselves with homemade truncheons. Objects were thrown on nearby railroad tracks. When the police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets, the demonstrators retreated quickly. In the evening there were always clashes between small groups of protesters and police officers.

Riots have been going on for more than three months

The protests in Hong Kong's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which have been going on for more than three months, initially contravened a planned law that included rendition of suspects to mainland China. Under pressure from the demonstrators, the Hong Kong government completely withdrew the law.

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Meanwhile, however, the protests are generally directed against the Beijing-loyal leadership and the curtailment of civil rights. Protesters call for the resignation of Hong Kong Prime Minister Carrie Lam, an independent investigation into police violence, an amnesty for the detainees and free elections.

Protests harm the economy

The economy of the Chinese special administrative region suffers from the conflict. "The continuing unrest has a significant impact on the overall confidence of Hong Kong business people," said Wolfgang Niedermark, Chief Representative of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK) in Hong Kong, the dpa news agency.

He referred to the recent downgrading of the credit rating of the Asian Economic and Financial Center by the international rating agencies Fitch and Moody's, which also gave a "negative" outlook for Hong Kong.

As a hub in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong is heavily dependent on a reliable airport infrastructure for tourism, trade and logistics, Niedermark said. Protesters protesting and disrupting the airport had "historically low numbers of visitors over the summer, compromising Hong Kong's status as a safe destination for business travel."

Source: spiegel

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