Hong Kong: Police defend their reaction to “violent” protesters
Hong Kong police on Monday justified the use of water cannons and warning shots the day before after more than two months of pro-democracy protests, accusing “extremely violent” protesters.
L es Sunday’s clashes in the suburb of Hong Kong Tsuen Wan were among the most violent since the beginning of anti-government movement in June.
The territory is experiencing its worst political crisis since its return by London to China in 1997. The movement shows little sign of weakening against the pro-Beijing government that does not mean, make any concessions.
“Extremely violent demonstrators have deviated from the initial route, obstructing roads, vandalizing shops and tunnels, throwing gasoline bombs, bricks and various projectiles at the police,” police said in a statement on Monday.
At nightfall on Sunday, a group of police officers were trapped by protesters armed with bricks that threatened them, police said.
“No other choice”
A policeman fell to the ground in a shower of blows, prompting six of his colleagues to unsheathe their handguns and, “having no other choice, a warning shot was fired in the air,” he said. -she explains.
This is the first time that a real bullet has been fired since the beginning of the crisis, raising fears that it will get worse.
Police also defended the use of two vehicles with water cannons to disperse protesters. Another sign of escalation, the police have so far always claimed to want to use this technique only in case of “large-scale disruption of public order”.
Current in many countries, they are a novelty in Hong Kong, where they had never been used against protesters.
In addition, the police have “strictly” condemned the demonstrators who “deliberately wounded police officers”, while fifteen members of the police were wounded in these skirmishes.
Twenty-nine protesters, aged 12 to 48, including seven women, were arrested for unlawful assembly, possession of weapons and police assault.
Police called “the public to dissociate themselves from violent protesters”, promising “relentless measures” to bring offenders to justice.
The warning shot provoked public anger and inflamed social networks, where a police spokesman was derided for extolling the “brave and restrained” behavior of the riot police on Sunday.
“If the police can not control their emotions, how can they show courage and restraint?” Commented a Facebook user.
Sunday’s afternoon began with an authorized march of thousands of peaceful Hong Kongers under their umbrellas, through Tsuen Wan.
In the early evening, clashes occurred between radical protesters – dressed in black, equipped with helmets and gas masks – and the police, exchanging Molotov cocktails for tear gas.
Born out of opposition to a now-suspended bill to allow extradition to mainland China, the movement has turned into a broader campaign for a more democratic system.
Since June, the Hong Kong government has used a range of methods, from intimidation to propaganda and economic pressure, to try to contain the dispute over this territory, which is also an international financial center. A strategy that the protesters describe as “white terror”.
On Saturday, Carrie Lam, the head of the executive, who recently spoke of the search for “a dialogue,” met with politicians and the world of education to discuss the situation.
“But can we name one person who can honestly and truly represent the protesters in the street? No. Not one, “parliamentarian James To Kun-sun, who supports the movement, told reporters on Monday.