Fire and petrol bombs after 'generally peaceful' Hong Kong march, police
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[December 09, 2019]
By Farah Master and Jessie Pang
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong protesters
lit a fire outside court buildings, threw petrol bombs and spray-painted
graffiti on government buildings, following a "generally peaceful" march
at the weekend, police said on Monday.
Protesters called for strikes across the city on Monday, but most
railway and transport links ran smoothly during the morning rush hour
and there were no reports of widespread disruptions.
Vast crowds of black-clad demonstrators had thronged the streets of the
Asian financial hub on Sunday, in the largest anti-government rally
since local elections last month and a resounding show of continued
support for the pro-democracy movement.
While the march appeared to be largely peaceful - in marked contrast to
some other mass demonstrations over the last six months, where
protesters fought pitched battles with police - authorities said there
was some damage after it ended.
"Although the event was generally peaceful, acts of breaching public
peace happened afterwards," police said in a statement on Monday.
"Some rioters spray-painted the exterior walls of the High Court, threw
petrol bombs and set fire outside the High Court and the Court of Final
Appeal, damaging government properties and seriously challenging the
spirit of the rule of law," police said, adding that shops and banks
were vandalized in the Causeway Bay and Wan Chai areas of Hong Kong
Reuters reporters at the march on Sunday saw graffiti and protesters
setting up barricades, but were not in the vicinity of the other
The Hong Kong Bar Association condemned what it called "acts of arson
and vandalism" and said those responsible must be brought to justice.
Protesters estimated the turnout at 800,000, while police said it was
Police said they arrested 42 people over the weekend for rioting,
possessing weapons and other charges. Some 6,022 people have now been
arrested in relation to the unrest since early June, police said.
In an editorial, the official China Daily newspaper called on the Hong
Kong government to uphold the rule of law.
"Many residents in Hong Kong are fed up with the violence and disruption
that have plagued the city for months," said the newspaper, often used
by Beijing to put out its message.
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Protesters attend a Human Rights Day march in the district of
Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, China December 8, 2019. REUTERS/Laurel
Hong Kong's new police commissioner had said he would take a "hard
and soft approach" to the demonstrations, where acts of violence
would be treated harshly but other issues more flexibly.
The chairman and president of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham)
in Hong Kong were denied entry over the weekend to the neighboring
Chinese territory of Macau, without explanation.
Macau's security chief, Wong Sio Chak, on Monday said security
concerns were the only reason for barring entry into the city,
broadcaster RTHK reported.
AmCham Chairman Robert Grieves and President Tara Joseph had been
traveling to Macau for an annual ball. The pair were told to sign a
statement saying they "voluntarily agreed not to pursue entry to
Wong declined to comment specifically on their cases and said it was
speculation that their refusal was linked to Beijing's response to
U.S. legislation backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, RTHK
U.S. President Donald Trump last month signed into law the Hong Kong
Human Rights and Democracy Act, linking the former British colony's
special treatment under U.S. law to its autonomy from Beijing.
The unrest in the city of about 7.4 million people started in June
as demonstrations against a now-withdrawn bill allowing extradition
to mainland China. It has since morphed into calls for greater
democratic freedoms and sometimes violent protests.
Protesters have set out five demands, including universal suffrage
and an investigation into alleged police brutality.
China has repeatedly blamed foreign powers, including the United
States, for stirring up the unrest.
(Reporting by Farah Master, Jessie Pang and Twinnie Siu; Writing by
David Dolan; Editing by Stephen Coates, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alex
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