Hong Kong protest tensions heat up in Australia

Andrew Cummings
August 18, 2019

A rally in Victoria Park has been called for Sunday by a pro-democracy group that has organized three massive marches through central Hong Kong since June.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the "one country, two systems" arrangement that has enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong since China took it back from Britain in 1997.

"I can tell you we're confident the police have the capability to maintain law and order", Yeung Man-pun, commander of the Kowloon City district, said Friday when asked about the possibility of a deployment of mainland security forces.

Chengcheng Zhoa, 33, from Baulkham Hills said she came to the protest wither husband and three-year-old daughter and husband to support her home country of China.

Earlier Saturday, thousands of schoolteachers marched to the official residence of Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, to show support for the protesters, who have taken to the streets since early June and include many students.

Cathay had been downgraded by Chinese banks and told its crew would have to submit to checks before flying over the mainland after initially refusing to censure its employees for taking part in the pro-democracy protests.

Almost 750 people have been arrested since the protests began in June and tear gas has frequently been used by police in attempts to disperse protests across the city.

The bill was suspended shortly after protests first began, however, demonstrations have continued with many pro-democracy protesters now calling on their leader to step down.

"We have additional resources in place, and we are prepared to address public safety issues should they arise", he said in an email.

As evening fell, some hardcore protesters were facing off with police in the district of Mongkok, where multiple clashes have taken place in recent weeks.

Hundreds of thousands of people participate in an anti-violence rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

The protests began over plans that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China, but they have broadened into a pro-democracy movement concerned about China's growing influence in the city.

The increasingly violent confrontations present one of the biggest challenges for Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

On Friday, Cathay Pacific Airways replaced its chief executive after pressure from Beijing to suspend staff involved in the protests.

China's paramilitary People's Armed Police has been holding drills this week across the border in Shenzhen, fuelling speculation that they could be sent in to suppress the protests. The move was announced by Chinese state television before it was announced by the company.

Protesters have used slingshots to fire marbles at police, shone lasers at them and at times thrown bricks and firebombs.

Anti-government protests have caused disruption in almost every part of the territory, whether it be flash mobs in the streets, protesters storming the legislature or large groups of people occupying malls, trains, and even the airport. "I think all these practices in Shenzhen [are aimed at] deterring Hong Kongers, at scaring us", Wong said.

But they also said attacks and insults directed towards their ranks had only reinforced morale and that there were ample reserves to call upon. "If we can arrest more and more because they are undertaking illegal acts, so be it".

A 14-year-old female student, surnamed Chan, told local media that she was not even a protester but was arrested for merely passing near a police station at Tin Shui Wai on August 5, according to NOW.

Other reports by iNewsToday