- Mobs appear at malls in Tai Po and Mong Kok, forcing police to spray blue dye and restrain several people
- Protesters have been targeting businesses with links to mainland China over the holidays
Riot police sprayed blue dye and restrained several anti-government protesters in Hong Kong on Thursday, on the third day of unrest over the Christmas holiday targeting busy shopping centres.
The protests, which came after a night of clashes with police in Mong Kok, took place as demonstrators focused their anger on perceived Beijing-friendly businesses, and again made allegations of police brutality.
On Wednesday evening, the city’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngo, accused protesters of ruining people’s Christmas celebrations.
Police published a Facebook post at 11am, warning that “guns have entered the community”, and reiterated the threat firearms pose to human life.
“If anyone carries or uses genuine firearms in the city, this will pose a serious threat to public safety,” the post read. “If members of the public come across any pistol or rifle-like objects or suspicious articles, please leave immediately and make a report to the police when the situation allows.”
At 1.30pm, dozens of black-clad activists in their masks marched inside Tai Po Mega Mall, chanting “Five demands, Not one less!” and “Disband the police”. They also called on passers-by to join a march planned for New Year’s Day, organised by the Civil Human Rights Front.
The protests started peaceful, but clashes began after an hour when riot police were seen subduing several men outside the mall.
Police then entered the mall and charged at several protesters, and an officer was seen spraying blue dye at a woman at close range.
Many shops in the mall had closed after dozens of riot police took control of the atrium and searched demonstrators.
Black-clad and masked protesters also marched and chanted slogans in the Moko mall in Mong Kok on Thursday, with some holding a banner with the slogan “Free Hong Kong, revolution of our times”.
Posts on online forums also called on activists to target other shopping centres in the city’s tourist districts, including the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay, and Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui on Boxing Day.
Police said on Wednesday that 105 people had been arrested on Christmas Eve near the force’s headquarters in Wan Chai, on suspicion of taking part in an illegal assembly.
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Published at Thu, 26 Dec 2019 02:12:27 +0000