Police Fire Tear Gas, Protesters Start Blazes: Hong Kong Update

Police Fire Tear Gas, Protesters Start Blazes: Hong Kong Update(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police fired tear gas at protesters who built barricades, started blazes and paralyzed traffic in the city’s prime business area on Sunday as unrest becomes increasingly difficult to contain.Riot police dispersed demonstrators in parts of Central only for them to regather in other districts. Officers fired tear gas in the busy shopping neighborhood of Causeway Bay where protesters had massed after some started a fire in Central at an entrance to one of the city’s busiest subway stations. Small groups still roamed the streets in different areas but the heavy police presence prevented them from growing.Earlier, tens of thousands marched peacefully to the U.S. consulate, after filling up a park the size of a football field and stretching for blocks in every direction. Separately on Sunday, prominent activist Joshua Wong said he was arrested at the airport for allegedly breaching bail conditions.On Saturday, at least 19 people were injured, two seriously, in clashes between police and protesters outside the Mong Kok police station and elsewhere. Chief Executive Carrie Lam last week scrapped the extradition bill that sparked the ongoing wave of demonstrations, which deteriorated last weekend into some of the worst violence in the former British colony since its return to Chinese rule in 1997. The withdrawal of the bill was one of five demands made by protesters.Here’s the latest (all times local):Streets are cleared (9.15 p.m.)Police were visible on most of the main streets, and TV images showed hand-tied demonstrators lined up against walls. The protesters were splintered into smaller groups, keeping their distance from the officers.Tear gas fired (7 p.m.)Police fired tear gas to disperse crowds in Causeway Bay, while MTR Corp., operator of the city’s rail network, announced that the Wan Chai station was closed temporarily.Blazing barricade (6 p.m.)Protesters set a barricade ablaze at a shuttered entrance to Central station and started another fire on a busy road. Demonstrators also smashed windows and trashed stairwells at other train-station access points in the area. Riot police started clearing streets in the prime business district as firefighters arrived and cleaned up the burning debris.Wong arrested (5 p.m.)Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong said he was arrested on Sunday at the city’s airport for breaching bail conditions. Wong said in a statement through his legal representative that he was being held in custody and expected to be released after a hearing on Monday.Central station closed (4 p.m.)MTR closed the Central station temporarily because of “an escalation of the situation” and to ensure the safety of passengers and staff, the company said on its website, without elaborating. There was a heavy riot police presence in the station and officers ordered people to leave. One handcuffed man lay on the ground, surrounded by police.March to consulate (1.pm.)Thousands of protesters walked the two blocks from Chater Gardens in Central to the U.S. Consulate in an authorized march calling for a “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act,” proposed by a bipartisan group of American lawmakers. Some of the protesters carried U.S. flags in the peaceful procession, which was guided and monitored by police officers.One of the marchers, who would only give his name as Harvey, said: “We are asking America to pass the Act, so we are carrying American flags. We want to tell U.S. congress that whatever Carrie Lam is doing, it is not satisfying. If the U.S. can sanction China, it might save us.”Bernard Chan, the convener of the city’s Executive Council, said in an interview on Friday that some acts by protesters can be seen as violating the “three bottom lines” that China has outlined. These are: any acts that harm China’s security of national sovereignty, challenge the power of the central government and the Basic Law, or take advantage of Hong Kong to infiltrate and damage the mainland.“Protesting is not the issue,” he said. “The issue is those violent acts ... Now you are asking the U.S. to intervene in Hong Kong. Come on. If you really want to help Hong Kong, stop doing all that. You just give China reason” to intervene. “That’s not good dialogue.”19 injured in clashes (12.30 p.m.)A total 19 people were admitted to hospital after clashes between police and protesters on Saturday night, according to a spokesman for the Hospital Authority who declined to be identified. Two men were in serious condition, he said by phone.‘Media targeted’ (Sunday 1 a.m.)The Hong Kong Journalists Association condemned what it said was police’s use of pepper spray on reporters and photographers at close range on Saturday. At least two journalists were sprayed directly in the face, it said. The area in Mong Kok where the incident took place had earlier been cleared of protesters, according to the statement.Shatin station shut (11 p.m.)MTR suspended service in Shatin after police and protesters clashed inside the town’s train station, RTHK reported. Officers used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, it said.Train station closed (9.15 p.m.)MTR announced that Mong Kok station was closed. Hundreds of riot police stormed through the streets to disperse crowds.Police issue warnings, protesters burn barricade (8.30 p.m.)The besieged Mong Kok police station, the site of repeated protests, was surrounded by police barriers. Firefighters rushed in to put out a blazing street barricade set up by protesters and lines of riot police advanced down the streets, driving the demonstrators away from the busy shopping and residential area.Police dismiss claims (5.30 p.m.)Hong Kong police again dismissed claims that there had been a death at Prince Edward train station on Aug. 31, rejecting the allegations as “totally false and unfounded.” In a statement, the police said that both the Fire Services Department and Hospital Authority confirmed that seven people were escorted by ambulance staff to hospital and that there were no records of fatalities.Rail station closed (4.35 p.m.)MTR shut down its Prince Edward station in Kowloon because a crowd had gathered there. Service at the station was suspended on Friday night after protests and it was re-opened Saturday morning. Demonstrators are demanding the company release CCTV footage of police actions inside the rail station on Aug. 31.Sit-ins at stations (2 p.m.)Groups of protesters staged sit-ins at malls near train stations but the civil action failed to match the mass demonstration of last weekend that halted traffic to and from the airport.Riot police and uniformed officers were out in large numbers, making their presence felt at stations and at the airport building. One man, who would only identify himself as Wong, was ejected from the bus terminus at the airport where he had been sitting on a bench. Court bailiffs, a lawyer and Airport Authority Hong Kong officials read him an injunction preventing obstructions or operations at the airport. They escorted him on to a bus.Class action (12 p.m.)Secondary-school pupils will boycott classes on Sept. 13, student organizers said at a press conference on Saturday. The group will apply for a permit, they said. The action follows a walkout of classes on Sept. 2. “We don’t rule out the possibility of further escalation,” said Isaac Cheng, vice chairman of political party Demosisto.Airport rail suspension (9 a.m.)MTR said it shut down the Kowloon, Tsing Yi and AsiaWorld-Expo stations from 9 a.m. to control flows into and out of the airport. The “stress test” of transportation to the international facility by protesters is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m.Protest permit (Saturday 7:46 a.m.)The Civil Human Rights Front, organizer of some of the protests, said it applied for a permit to march on Sept. 15 in a call for universal suffrage. The planned civil action is scheduled to start in Causeway Bay at 3 p.m.Tear gas deployed; fires started (Friday 10 p.m.)Police fired tear gas in Mong Kok, one of Hong Kong’s most densely populated areas, after protesters dismantled railings and traffic lights, and started blazes. The demonstrators demanded that MTR release CCTV footage of police actions inside the Prince Edward rail station on Aug. 31.\--With assistance from Aaron Mc Nicholas, Moxy Ying and Dominic Lau.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at flung6@bloomberg.net;Jinshan Hong in Hong Kong at jhong214@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, ;Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Stanley JamesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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