Hong Kong protesters defy Xi with pro-democracy rallies
Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters defied a warning by China‘s President Xi Jinping and took to the streets again Friday, as the political turmoil seeped out to London, where a territorial minister was confronted by masked demonstrators.
Cheng walked away without signs of injury, but Beijing slammed the incident as an “appalling attack” and accused Britain of fuelling the protest movement. Police in London said they were investigating.
– Everyone has ‘role to play’ –
Thousands of mainly office workers took to the streets of the Chinese territory, many chanting “Stand with Hong Kong” and raising an open hand with five fingers splayed — a reference to the five protester demands which include the right to freely elect Hong Kong‘s leaders and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.
“Every person in Hong Kong has a role to play,” James, a 33-year-old banking employee told AFP, adding “sacrifice” was necessary to keep the wind behind the protest movement.
Protesters also occupied university campuses, while the city endured another day of transport chaos with service suspensions on the vandalised train network and roads blocked by barricades.
Two German students, aged 22 and 23, were swept up in the protests and arrested on Thursday for “unlawful assembly,” police said early Saturday.
According to Germany’s Bild newspaper, the two are exchange students at Hong Kong‘s Lingnan University.
The German foreign ministry said it was “providing consular care … and is in contact with a lawyer and local authorities.”
Major universities in the Netherlands are advising the nearly 300 Dutch students in Hong Kong to quickly return home for security reasons.
“The clashes are getting close to campuses,” University of Amsterdam spokeswoman Annelies van Dijk told AFP. “Students no longer feel safe there and their families are worried.”
– Flames –
The fire was set in defiance of a warning by Xi, who on Thursday backed Hong Kong‘s leader Carrie Lam while warning the protest movement was threatening the “one country, two systems” principle governing the semi-autonomous city.
Xi said “stopping violence and controlling chaos” was the top priority.
– Disruption and violence –
Until this week, protests had been mainly in the evenings and on weekends, allowing the international financial hub to still function during the week — albeit with its economy dragged into recession.
But roadblocks and vandalism to metro stations and lines have brought chaos to the city’s transport network, forcing schools to close and many commuters to stay at home.
Organisers of Clockenflap, Hong Kong‘s biggest music festival, said Friday that this year’s edition has been cancelled because of the unrest.
Violence has also intensified on both sides — two people have died in a week in incidents linked to the protests.
Major universities have become a hub for the protesters, the first time a movement characterised by its fluidity and unpredictability has coagulated in fixed locations.
As dusk fell, the numbers of university students and protesters appeared to thin out.
“If just a small number of people stay here, it’s easy for police to break in and arrest them,” said a student, who only identified herself as Wendy.
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‘Blossom everywhere’: Hong Kong protesters evolve tactics
Hong Kong (AFP) Nov 13, 2019
From “be water” to “blossom everywhere”, Hong Kong‘s black-clad pro-democracy protesters’ tactics have evolved this week in their bid to overwhelm police by creating flashpoints in as many areas as possible.
The campaign of massive disruption has seen small groups of protesters emerge all across the city of 7.5 million people from Monday to block intersections, vandalise shops, clash with police and damage the vital train network.
“We must blossom everywhere to divert the police force,” read an … read more