Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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Violence brings Hong Kong to ‘brink of total breakdown’
Protesters catch fire at Chinese University of Hong Kong. REUTERS

Violence brings Hong Kong to ‘brink of total breakdown’

13 Nov 2019 | 7:10 AM

HONG KONG: The Hong Kong police fired tear gas on Tuesday in the Central financial district, over the harbour in Mong Kok and at universities to break up pro-democracy protests which they said were leading the city to the “brink of total breakdown”.

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Hong Kong, November 12

The Hong Kong police fired tear gas on Tuesday in the Central financial district, over the harbour in Mong Kok and at universities to break up pro-democracy protests which they said were leading the city to the “brink of total breakdown”.

The clashes came a day after police shot a protester at close range and a man was doused with petrol and set on fire in some of the worst violence in the Chinese-ruled city in decades.

A flash mob of more than 1,000 protesters wearing office clothes and face masks, rallied in Central for a second day during lunch hour, blocking roads below some of the city’s tallest skyscrapers and most expensive real estate.

“Our society has been pushed to the brink of a total breakdown,” a police spokesman told a briefing, referring to the last two days of violence in the former British colony. He said masked “rioters” had committed “insane” acts, such as throwing trash, bicycles and other debris onto metro tracks, overhead power lines and paralysing the transport system.

The police also fired tear gas at City University in Kowloon Tong, beneath the Lion Rock, and at Chinese University on the other side of the mountain, where protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks at cops.

Protesters at City University had stockpiled bricks and petrol bombs on the bridges and other approaches and were making small devices with nails. They had overrun the campus and were smashing up the next-door Festival Walk shopping mall and setting fires.

Streets inside and outside the Chinese University campus entrance were littered with bricks, other debris and small street fires as the police tackled some protesters to the ground.

“It’s crazy that police have been firing tear gas for more than 20 minutes. If they didn’t come in, we wouldn’t clash with them. It’s our school. We need to protect our home,” Candy (20), a student, told Reuters earlier.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said protesters were being extremely selfish and hoped that the universities and schools would urge students not to take part in the demonstrations.

More than 260 people were arrested on Monday, the police said, bringing the total number to more than 3,000 since the protests escalated in June.

The United States on Monday condemned “unjustified use of deadly force” in Hong Kong and urged police and civilians alike to de-escalate the situation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. We urge the United States, United Kingdom and other countries to earnestly respect China’s sovereignty.” — Reuters

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