MOSCOW: Police used pepper spray and batons against demonstrators in the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong as protests against the new amendment to the government’s extradition bill turned violent in the early hours of Monday and several people, including law enforcement officers, sustained injuries, reported Sputnik news agency, quoting the local media stories.
On Sunday, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing the organisers, that over 1 million people took to the streets to protest against the amendment, which, if approved, will permit transferring the fugitives to jurisdictions Hong Kong has no respective agreements with.
The police, however, said that only 240,000 were taking part in the manifestation. The law enforcement detained seven people and used tear gas.
The RTHK broadcaster, meanwhile, reported that the protests turned violent after midnight local time as some of the demonstrators heeded calls to besiege the Legislative Council.
Demonstrators also started hurling bottles at the officers, while police hit protesters with batons and used pepper gas.
At least two police officers were injured and hospitalised, with one of them apparently receiving an eye injury. Several journalists and a local TV channel operator also sustained injuries.
The South China Morning Post newspaper, meanwhile, specified that at about 2am local time, protesters attempted to take over metal barricades to attack police. Later, demonstrators began erecting barricades using road signs and dumpsters.
The Hong Kong region, which enjoys significant autonomy in China except for foreign and defence policies, has a different legal system.
The opponents of the proposed law claim it will become “the death” for Hong Kong as any human rights activist or member of the non-governmental organisation whose activity does not please Beijing will risk falling under it and be persecuted.
About 100,000 of protesters gathered for a similar rally on April 28. The RTHK broadcaster reported, citing the Civil Human Rights Front, that about 130,000 people participated in the rally, while the local police said the number of protesters stood at some 22,800. – Bernama