Update on Hong Kong: Riot Police Deployed to Disperse New “Illegally” Assembled Protesters

Pro-democracy protesters march organized by teachers in Hong Kong Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Members of China’s paramilitary People’s Armed Police marched and practiced crowd control tactics at a sports complex in Shenzhen across from Hong Kong in what some interpreted as a threat against pro-democracy protesters in the semi-autonomous territory. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The Latest on protests in Hong Kong (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

Hong Kong riot police have been deployed to chase down a group of pro-democracy protesters they say were assembling illegally after the end of a sanctioned protest march.

The protesters had gathered outside a police station on Saturday evening, shining laser pointers and throwing eggs at officers guarding the entrance. Riot police formed a line on a nearby street, thumping their batons on their shields as they started marching.

But by that time, most protesters had already melted away into Hong Kong’s densely populated Mong Kok district, leaving officers to face the anger of local residents, who yelled for them to go home and accused them of being members of crime gangs.

The protesters had taken part in an approved protest march earlier Saturday, but when it reached the finish they continued, cheered on by supporters honking their horns and raising their fists.

Hong Kong police have previously held similar operations in which they fired tear gas.

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5:30 p.m.

Dueling demonstrations on both sides of Hong Kong’s famous harbor are highlighting the political divide in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Pro-democracy activists marched through a district in Kowloon on Saturday, while supporters of the Beijing-backed government rallied in a park on the Hong Kong Island side.

The democracy protests have raged continuously for 10 weeks, many ending in clashes with police as protesters barricade and take over streets and officers respond with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The protesters are demanding fully democratic elections and the resignation of the city’s leader. They also accuse the police of using excessive force against them.

The pro-government side defends the police and blames the demonstrators for the violence in this summer’s protests.

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3:35 p.m.

Protests in support of a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong have continued in Melbourne, Australia, while a pro-China march has been held in Sydney.

The Melbourne rally on Friday night turned ugly, with police moving in to separate some 100 pro-China protesters from those sympathetic to Hong Kong as low level violence flared. Saturday’s protest in the southern city was peaceful.

Among the pro-Hong Kong demonstrators were members of China’s Tibetan and Uighur ethnic minorities, as well as Vietnamese groups.

A pro-China march in Sydney included at least 200 protesters descending on the city’s Town Hall chanting “Long Live China” and singing the Chinese national anthem.

Pro-Hong Kong rallies have also been held this week in Adelaide and Brisbane.

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1:15 p.m.

Another weekend of protests is underway in Hong Kong, with teachers rallying to support students and other protesters.

An overflow crowd filled a public square in the financial district on Saturday, holding signs that read “Protect the next generation.”

Teachers say they want the government to answer the protesters’ demands and stop using what they called police violence to disperse demonstrators.

Hong Kong’s protests are in their 10th week and show no sign of relenting. A series of rallies and at least one march are planned for this weekend.

The movement’s demands include the resignation of the city leader, democratic elections and an independent investigation into police use of force.

Mainland Chinese police are holding drills in nearby Shenzhen, prompting speculation they could be sent in to suppress the protests.

Source: Associated Press