Hong Kong protests: Police fire tear gas in renewed flair of violence

Hong Kong protests: Police fire tear gas in renewed flair of violence
Hong Kong protests: Police fire tear gas in renewed flair of violence. Reuters/K. Pfeffenbach
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Riot police in Hong Kong fired tear gas and baton-charged pro-democracy protesters on Saturday, raising concerns that more violent unrest could return to the streets of the semi-autonomous city.

Thousands of people marched through the industrial Kwun Tong district on a government-sanctioned route before stopping near a police station where they built up a barricade of construction barriers.

DW's Charlotte Chelsom-Pill reported that some protesters threw bricks at officers, prompting riot police to rush in and fire rounds of tear gas.

The majority of the crowds stood behind the barricades and chanted at police, accusing them of being in league with Hong Kong's local mafia, the triads.

Hong Kong's government said in a statement that officers used minimum force to disperse the protesters after repeated warnings "went futile."

Read more: Hong Kong crisis — What you need to know

Calls for police accountability

Clashes between protesters and police had cooled off for the past 10 days, after increasingly violent altercations.

The protests began around 12 weeks ago in opposition to a bill that would allow the territory to extradite people facing criminal charges to mainland China, but the movement has expanded to include wider calls for democracy and an inquiry into police brutality.

The use of force by police has become a growing issue with protesters, who are angered by the heavy-handed response by authorities

Police have used rubber bullets, tear gas and baton charges against what they describe as more hardcore protesters, but are also accused of beating peaceful demonstrators as well.

rs/ (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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