Quantcast
Connect with us

Clashes, travel chaos in Hong Kong as leader warns city on brink

Published

on

Hong Kong riot police clashed with pro-democracy protesters for a third straight day Monday, as the city’s leader warned the global financial hub was nearing a “very dangerous situation” and a rare strike caused transport chaos.

Clouds of tear gas billowed across multiple locations on Monday afternoon as the city buckled under a general strike, which protesters pushed to emphasise they still had broad public support following two months of increasingly violent unrest.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a rare public appearance since the crisis began, chief executive Carrie Lam warned protesters she would not cave in to their demands.

“(They) have seriously undermined Hong Kong’s law and order and are pushing our city, the city that we all love and many of us helped to build, to the verge of a very dangerous situation,” Lam said.

She later referenced chants by protesters for a “revolution”, describing this as a challenge to the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong has been ruled since it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

AFP / AFP Hong Kong transport chaos

“I dare say they are trying to destroy Hong Kong,” said Lam, who was appointed by a pro-Beijing committee.

China’s cabinet-level State Council said it planned to hold a press conference on Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lam spoke on a day that saw widespread civil disobedience across the city.

Activists descended on subway stations during morning rush hour, deliberately keeping open doors to stop trains departing and paralysing large parts of a network that millions of people use daily.

In the afternoon they held seven simultaneous rallies, stretching the resources of police who have become lightning rods for public anger.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tear gas was fired in four separate locations, with the most sustained volleys outside the city’s parliament, making Monday’s clashes the most geographically spread out so far.

In a briefing that highlighted the longevity of the protests, police said they had fired more than 1,000 rounds of tear gas and 160 rubber bullets since rallies began on 9 June, with 420 people arrested and 139 officers injured so far.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the protesters remain unbowed.

“Support for the political strike today seems strong and it has been bolstered further by the escalating violence between the police and protesters,” political analyst Dixon Wong told AFP.

– Flights cancelled, shops closed –

ADVERTISEMENT

AFP / Anthony WALLACE Protesters prevented the doors of subway trains closing

The strike — a rare occurrence in a freewheeling finance hub where unions traditionally have little sway — hit the vital aviation sector.

More than 160 flights at the city’s airport, one of the world’s busiest, were listed as cancelled on Monday afternoon. Many of the disrupted flights were with Cathay Pacific.

The carrier did not give a reason for the cancellations, but its flight attendants union confirmed some of its members had walked out.

Some key roads were also blocked, causing gridlock.

ADVERTISEMENT

Many shops across the city were shuttered, including big-name fashion outlets in the central commercial district.

AFP / Anthony WALLACE A pregnant woman is comforted by her husband during the subway disruption

The strike led to some scuffles between angry commuters and protesters at crowded subway stations, with videos circulating across social media highlighting tensions throughout the city.

One video, verified by AFP, showed a car smashing its way through a protester roadblock in the northern town of Yuen Long.

But while some commuters were angered by the disruptions, others said they supported the action.

ADVERTISEMENT

“As long as the government doesn’t respond then for sure the movement will escalate,” a civil servant, who gave his surname as Leung, told AFP as he tried to make his way to work.

– China warnings –

AFP / Isaac LawrenceHong Kong protesters have proved adept at using home made protection against police

The past fortnight has seen a surge in violence from both sides, with police repeatedly firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse increasingly hostile projectile-throwing crowds.

A week ago a group of men suspected to be linked to triads — Hong Kong’s notorious gangsters — also attacked demonstrators, putting 45 people in hospital.

Dozens of protesters have been charged with rioting, which carries a jail term of 10 years.

ADVERTISEMENT

The protests were triggered by opposition to a planned law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but have evolved into a wider movement for democratic reform and a halt to eroding freedoms.

Under the terms of the 1997 handover deal with Britain, Hong Kong has rights and liberties unseen on the Chinese mainland, including an independent judiciary and freedom of speech.

But many say those rights are being curtailed.

Chinese authorities have in public largely left Hong Kong’s government to deal with the crisis, although they have begun to issue their own warnings.

ADVERTISEMENT

China’s military last week described the unrest as “intolerable” and released a propaganda video of a drill in which troops quash a protest.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Ukraine begged Trump to raise issue of their captive sailors with Putin — he didn’t and Russia state TV gloated

Published

on

The ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is being painted by Congress and the press against the backdrop of the ongoing war between Russia and the Ukraine.

As more and more sworn deposition transcripts are released, researchers are able to link up the testimony of events with real-time reactions, giving us a remarkable insight into the implications of foreign policy decisions.

Investigative journalist Julia Davis flagged one key part of testimony in the transcript released of the deposition by Ukraine embassy political officer David Holmes.

The transcript reveals Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the former federal prosecutor who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, interviewing Holmes about Ukraine's desperation to set up a meeting with Trump.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Something nefarious going on’: Obama deputy chief of staff doesn’t buy White House claims on Trump’s health

Published

on

The deputy chief of staff for operations in the Obama administration broke down on Monday why the White House claims on President Donald Trump's surprise Saturday visit to Walter Reed Hospital.

Jim Messina, who also was the campaign manager for Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, was interviewed Monday on MSNBC's "The Last Word" by anchor Lawrence O'Donnell.

O'Donnell noted the note the White House physician sent to White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham:

[caption id="attachment_1563602" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Memorandum from Dr. Sean Conley to Stephanie Grisham.[/caption]

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump doctor denies the president underwent any ‘neurologic evaluations’ at Walter Reed Hospital

Published

on

The physician to the president claimed that President Donald Trump did not undergo "neurologic" evaluations during a surprise visit to Walter Reed Hospital.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a picture of a memorandum from Dr. Sean Conley, which was printed on "Office of the Press Secretary" letterhead.

The memo was sent to Grisham.

On Saturday, Grisham had claimed the purpose of the visit was to conduct a "partial" physical. Dr. Conley referred to the visit as an "interim check up."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image