ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Hong Kong protesters throw Chinese flag into iconic harbour

Hong Kong protesters throw Chinese flag into iconic harbour
Highlights

Hong Kong protesters removed a Chinese national flag from its pole and flung it into the city's iconic Victoria Harbour on Saturday after a pro-democracy rally once again continued into the evening despite police warnings to stick to a short, pre-approved route.

Hong Kong : Hong Kong protesters removed a Chinese national flag from its pole and flung it into the city's iconic Victoria Harbour on Saturday after a pro-democracy rally once again continued into the evening despite police warnings to stick to a short, pre-approved route.

Tens of thousands of black-clad protesters filled a major road in a usually bustling market district where shop owners had shuttered their storefronts in anticipation of a prolonged demonstration.

They also blocked a tunnel and surrounded police stations where non-emergency services were suspended. The protest was the latest in a summer-long pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

While the rallies have been largely peaceful, they have increasingly devolved into skirmishes with police after some protesters refused to disperse at assigned times.

Since the rallies began in early June, protesters have vandalised buildings and thrown bricks, while police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

In a separate demonstration on Saturday, thousands of people dressed in white gathered at a Hong Kong park to express their support for the police. They held up signs that read "Give Peace a Chance."

Pro-democracy demonstrators began setting up first aid stations and handing out helmets a few hours into their rally.

When one group reached the harbour near a luxury shopping center and high-end hotels, some protesters climbed up a cluster of flag poles and removed the Chinese national flag.

After some debate over whether to paint the flag black, they decided to throw it into the water before the police could intervene.

Shortly afterward, a 38-year-old protester named Paladin Cheng planted himself beside the poles with his own set of flags, which read "Hong Kong Independence."

"We're losing our freedom little by little," said Cheng, who was clad in head-to-toe black with a black visor and face mask.

"Those who don't support Hong Kong independence will have no choice but to become Chinese."

A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under the framework of "one country, two systems," which promises the city certain freedoms not afforded to mainland residents.

In recent years, however, some Hong Kong residents have accused Beijing of chipping away at their autonomy through the arrests of booksellers and activists.

Such sentiments have propelled the current mass demonstrations, which were initially triggered by a proposed extradition law that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China to stand trial.

While the government has since suspended the legislation, protesters have pressed on with five major demands, including direct elections and an investigation into alleged police brutality. Hong Kong's leader is chosen by a pro-Beijing committee.

Police warned earlier Saturday that those who continued past the pre-approved route would be breaking the law.

They called on protesters to stick to designated routes and times after violent clashes marred previous rallies in the summer-long protest movement.

Any demonstrations that are not pre-approved will be "cleared out" as unlawful assemblies, police said.

Zarine Chau, a 56-year-old security guard, said she rarely used to get involved in politics, but was angered after she saw videos of police officers beating up protesters.

Show Full Article
Download The Hans India Android App or iOS App for the Latest update on your phone.
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
More Stories


Top