HONG KONG – Hong Kong police have once again clashed with anti-government protesters as the city enters its 10th week of mass demonstrations and unrest.
Police fired tear gas across the city on Sunday night, including into an enclosed railway station.
In the Wan Chai district, petrol bombs and bricks were thrown at riot police who responded by charging at protesters with batons.
A number of people, including a police officer, were injured in the clashes.
Police were also filmed firing rubber bullets at close range inside a subway station, while other officers were seen beating people with batons on an escalator.
Two months of demonstrations sparked by a controversial extradition bill show no signs of abating, with both sides hardening their stance.
Although the government has now suspended the bill, which would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, demonstrators want it to be fully withdrawn.
Their demands have broadened to include calls for an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, and for Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam to resign.
What’s the latest?
On Sunday afternoon, a peaceful rally in the city’s Victoria Park sparked clashes when protesters moved out of the area and marched along a major road despite a police ban.
There were confrontations in several central districts and police used rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators. Tear gas was fired in the busy shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui as well as in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island.
One image widely shared on social media showed a woman, who was reportedly shot by a police projectile, bleeding heavily from her eye.
The protesters have started to adopt new tactics, striking in multiple areas in smaller groups before running when the police arrive, says the BBC’s Stephen McDonell who is in the city.
Tear gas was also fired into a metro station in Kwai Fong, and local media reported that it was the first time police had fired tear gas into an enclosed metro station to disperse people.
Other video appeared to show police charging into a subway station and firing at protesters at point blank range. Several officers were also filmed chasing and hitting people with batons on an escalator.
Local media outlets reported that suspected undercover police officers had dressed-up as protesters to make surprise arrests on Sunday night.
Sunday also saw the third day of a peaceful sit-in at Hong Kong’s international airport, There have been no reports of arrests there and flights are operating as scheduled.
Why are there protests in Hong Kong?
Demonstrations began in opposition to a proposed extradition bill, which would have allowed suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Critics said it would undermine Hong Kong’s legal freedoms, and could be used to silence critics.
Police were then accused of using excessive force against protesters. Even though Hong Kong authorities agreed to suspend the bill, demonstrations continued, with calls for it to be fully withdrawn.
Hong Kong is part of China but its citizens have more autonomy than those on the mainland. It has a free press and judicial independence under the so-called “one country, two systems” approach – freedoms which activists fear are being increasingly eroded.
They have also called for an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality during the protests and the resignation of Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam. -BBC