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Violence Erupted as Hong Kong Police Cracked Down on Protesters

By Elaine Nalikka Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local

On Sunday afternoon, thousands were lawfully gathered at Chater Garden in the Central Business district of Hong Kong. After many hours of people dressed in all black trickling in, the protests began at the park at 3:00pm. People had come to advocate for electoral reform and a boycott of the Chinese Communist Party. The American Flag, Hong Kong flag and British flag was waved, as well as “Free Hong Kong” flags. The crowd swelled and demonstrators began digging up bricks and vandalizing traffic lights in surrounding roads. Some set fires and made makeshift barricades out of umbrellas, street furniture, traffic barriers, dug up bricks and smashed traffic lights. By 4:20pm, the rally was shut down by the police; it was supposed to go on until 10:00 pm.

Protesters in Chater Garden on January 19, 2020. Photo credit: Tom Grundy/HKFP

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The police had ordered the end of the rally, claiming that the organizers could not maintain public order. The rally organizer, Ventus Lau, was arrested for “obstructing officers and breaching the authorities’ conditions  for the rally“. Several protesters were handcuffed near the park. The majority of the protesters dispersed and left the area within 30 minutes. Two Hong Kong police officers suffered head injuries after being attacked by wooden sticks and umbrellas.

In Hong Kong, pro-democracy graffiti covers the walls of the city and fences around government buildings. Police conduct random stop and searches near areas where demonstrations are expected to occur. The carrying of a mask could lead to an arrest. Sunday comes after a lull in the now 7 months of Hong Kong protests. In recent weeks the frequency and ferocity of the protests have died down, but Hong Kong remains embroiled in political unrest.

Riot police fire tear gas in Chater Garden, Hong Kong on January 19, 2020. Photo credits: Justin Cin/Bloomberg

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US President Donald Trump signed legislation supporting Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters last November. Last quarter, Congress passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, which imposes sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong and allows the US Department of State to review Hong Kong’s political status annually.

Elaine Nalikka
passionate about criminal law and writing.

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