- A ban on demonstrations did not prevent a large number of anti-extradition demonstrators from taking to the streets Saturday.
- The police used tear gas and blue liquid to try to disperse demonstrators.
- The situation continued to draw attention from the international community.
Thousands of demonstrators in Hong Kong ignored the police’s warning on Saturday. Demonstrators frequently used petrol bombs. The police fired tear gas and blue water jets to disperse demonstrators for the first time, and strongly condemned the demonstrators for “violent acts.”
The group “Civil Human Rights Front,” which has launched a large-scale demonstration in Hong Kong, originally planned a parade on Saturday, but was prohibited by the police for security reasons.
However, the ban did not prevent a large number of anti-extradition demonstrators from taking to the streets. They started to occupy many roads on Hong Kong Island from the afternoon, but the police indicated that their actions were “illegal assembly.”
A number of bus lines were diverted due to the influence of demonstrations, and several shops were closed nearby.
Since Friday, the police have searched many democratic legislators and activists. The demonstrators have criticized the fact that police want to scare the demonstrators and create terror. However, the police said that the arrests had nothing to do with demonstrations.
The demonstrators said that the government did not respond to the appeal, but increased the pressure to suppress the people.
Peter, a 35-year-old demonstrator, said that the government’s recent arrests of several democratic legislators and social activists were “very unfair.” Although the police banned today’s parade, he believes that “this time we must get out of the street and express our thoughts, the government wants us to be afraid.”
Another demonstrator, 17-year-old Situs, believes that the massive arrests are “extremely worrying.” The authorities’ current tactics show that the government is becoming a “tyranny regime.”
In the afternoon, the conflict between the two sides escalated. Hundreds of frontline demonstrators attacked the Legislative Council Building and the government headquarters in Admiralty. They repeatedly threw hard objects and petrol bombs and burned roadblocks set up by the police.
The police first used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, but many demonstrators picked up the tear gas canisters to fight back. The police sprayed blue liquid to try to disperse them.
After the demonstrators destroyed the signs of the pro-China media outlet Ta Kung Pao, police once again appeared against the demonstrators in Causeway Bay, spraying tear gas and blue liquid at the demonstrators.
The protests in Hong Kong this summer were originally directed at the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, but later the demonstrators expanded their demands, including the request for an independent committee to investigate police clashes.
A Hong Kong government spokesman issued a statement at 6 o’clock on the 31st that the issues related to constitutional development are highly controversial. It is imprudent to act cautiously and rashly restart the political reform, which will lead to a more differentiated society, they said.
The spokesman said that in order to start discussions on political reform, the society needs to proceed in a pragmatic manner on the basis of a peaceful and trustful atmosphere. The government will review the situation and promote political development in accordance with the Basic Law and the relevant interpretations and decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Situation in Hong Kong draws attention from international community
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, is “extremely worried” about the developments in Hong Kong. “The EU hopes that the Hong Kong government can respect the freedom of assembly, demonstrations, and speech.” She also pointed out that the EU will continue to send messages to the Hong Kong government and work with all parties to avoid deterioration.
US President Trump said on Friday that trade negotiations have cooled the situation in Hong Kong because China hopes to reach an agreement.