August 19, 2019
Latest News

Police use rubber bullets, tear gas against Hong Kong protesters

Hong Kong, Jun 12 (EFE).- Hong Kong police on Wednesday used rubber bullets and tear gas shells to clear protesters from around the city's legislative council building where demonstrations were held against a controversial extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial, eyewitnesses reported from the scene.

Protesters were forced to flee the site after police employed anti-riot measures that were also used in some places during similar protests on Sunday.

The proposed law, which was first tabled in February and the bill of which will be put to a final vote on Jun. 20, would allow Hong Kong to process case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macau, and without direct legislative supervision.

Photos published by local daily South China Morning Post on Wednesday showed protesters near the government headquarters gathering bricks from the pavements, while the police displayed a banner saying "disperse or we shoot” -- a threat which was carried out later, wounding a number of people, according to the newspaper.

Some protesters, however, stayed put at nearby squares and streets, reminiscent of the tumultuous 2014 protests, which had been the biggest expression of non-conformity with Chinese policies in Hong Kong until then.

EFE could confirm that protesters remained largely peaceful at all times and defended themselves from the police charge with helmets, water bottles and umbrellas.

Local media reported that as of 6 pm, 22 people had been admitted to hospitals in the city with injuries.

The Hong Kong government urged citizens to not go near the central Admiralty District, where the government offices are situated and said the protests were causing serious obstructions and inconveniencing traffic.

“A number of protesters had used very dangerous weapons and a high level of violence. They repeatedly charged at police officers, leading to an increasingly chaotic situation. The government calls on the persons at the location to leave immediately for their own safety," a Hong Kong government spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement said the police would take "appropriate action" if there were” illegal acts" and urged protesters to "maintain social order, remain calm and exercise restraint, leave the scene peacefully."

The Legislative Council said in a statement that a meeting to hold the second reading of the extradition bill, scheduled for Wednesday, had been postponed, with the new time to be announced later.

The bill has faced opposition from a wide social spectrum, from students to businesspersons, who have expressed concerns over the risk of Hong Kong residents charged with crimes being deported to mainland China.

It is feared that local activists, journalists, critics or dissidents residing in Hong Kong could also be sent to mainland China for trial.

msc-jt-jco-jg/ia/ssk

Related content

Massive protests in Hong Kong delay extradition bill debate

By Mar Sanchez-Cascado

Hong Kong, Jun 12 (efe-epa).- A sea of people remained out on the streets of Hong Kong on Wednesday as police used pepper spray to push back against angry demonstrators, protesting against an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters surrounded the city’s legislature that forced the Legislative Council to postpone the second debate on the controversial bill.

But the tense standoff on the streets continued unabated as the area around the Legislative Council was cordoned off by riot police as demonstrators – mostly young men and women – shouted anti-government slogans.

Many of the protesters were wearing masks to hide their facial identity and also protect themselves from the pepper spray used by the police to disperse them.

Photos published by South China Morning Post showed the demonstrators picking bricks from the sidewalks as they clashed with the police, intensifying the tension over the contentious extradition legislation.

Until Wednesday afternoon no serious clashes were reported even as police kept warning the protesters to stop from charging towards them.

Many of the protesters were forced to leave the site after police fired pepper spray as ambulances were seen heading towards the crowds.

The police were still trying to evacuate the site and escort lawmakers who had come to the legislature for a second reading of the disputed bill, which would allow Hong Kong to process case-by-case extradition requests from mainland China, Taiwan and Macao and without direct legislative supervision.

"Our company works with many foreign companies and it is very important for Hong Kong to keep the ‘one country, two system’ principle," Crystal Lee, a protester, told EFE.

Lee said the principle allows the city to enjoy freedom of expression, of assembly, free press, internet without censorship and a secured judicial system until its integration into China.

“The rule of law is one of HK’s biggest ‘selling points’ to persuade foreign companies to invest in the city,” Lee noted.

Another Hong Kong resident, Patrick L, who works in the airlines - one of the sectors that announced a strike to protest against the bill, said that "we want to join the strike but we fear to be fired from our jobs”.

Meanwhile, a Spaniard living in Hong Kong, Pilar Aguilera Cacho was convinced that "it is a lost battle" because “Beijing would end up taking total control” of the semi-autonomous region.

"But if one gives up the fight, then there will no longer be a hope," she said.

"Certainly, it seems a big blow to the autonomy of Hong Kong. It worries me that Beijing would use it to threaten and persecute its opponents here,” Aguilera added.

In posters flashed on Wednesday, some protesters denounced that the police was defending Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam when they should be doing their duty to protect protesters.

The President of the Legislative Council, Andrew Leung decided to postpone the council meeting scheduled for Wednesday to a later time.

The controversial bill which was proposed in February is expected to be put to a final vote on Jun. 20.

Once approved, the local courts will be able to review cases of such nature individually and use veto power to stop certain extraditions, although the Hong Kong Executive insists that the text intends to fill a legal void.

Official Chinese newspaper, Global Times, in an editorial, said the protests were carried out by "extreme Hong Kong separatists" who are acting under "powerful interference from foreign forces, especially the US”.

"The violent incident has brought heavy criticism from different groups in Hong Kong, since this has seriously harmed the stability and prosperity of the city," Global Times said and added that it was "irresponsible" of those who "incite" young people to protest on the streets.

Asked if Beijing supported the use of force against the protesters, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said: "Any behaviour that undermines the prosperity and stability of the region will be opposed by the mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong.”

On the query of the foreign press on whether the Chinese government has been sending military vehicles and troops to Hong Kong, Geng said: "This is misinformation. I can tell you that that is an old rumour to instil panic."

The bill has also faced staunch opposition from journalists, foreign politicians, non-governmental organizations and companies over fears that residents in Hong Kong - which belongs to China but has its own laws and currency - accused of crimes will be sent to mainland China.

Henceforth, local activists, journalists, critiques or dissident residents in Hong Kong could also be sent to mainland China for trial.

The Communist regime, devoid of control mechanisms and without any real separation of powers, pledged in 1997 - when Hong Kong's sovereignty was returned to China from the United Kingdom - to keep the system left by the British until 2047. But Beijing's pressure on the archipelago has been increasing.

Several human rights organizations such as the Amnesty International have expressed their concerns as the proposed changes would put at risk anyone's liberties in Hong Kong.

msc-jt-jco/sk/ssk

Hong Kong postpones second reading of controversial extradition bill

Hong Kong, China, Jun 12 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong's Legislative Council on Wednesday postponed a session in which a second reading of a contentious extradition bill was to take place amid massive opposition on the streets outside.

"The President of the Legislative Council (Andrew Leung) has directed that the Council meeting of 12 June 2019 scheduled to begin at 11:00 am today be changed to a later time to be determined by him. Members will be notified of the time of the meeting later," the council said in a statement.

Hong Kong's parliament was cordoned off by the police among thousands of demonstrators who went onto the streets to protest against the contentious extradition bill, known as the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019, which as law would allow individuals to be sent to mainland China to stand trial.

On Tim Mei Avenue, police put up a flag that said "Disperse or we fire," according to Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post. While it escalated tensions, no clashes have been reported in the area so far.

In contrast to the color white chosen for Sunday’s protests (when more than a million people poured onto the streets, although the police put the figure at 240,000), many protesters on Wednesday chose to wear black.

Some also wore masks to avoid being identified and to protect themselves from the pepper spray used by the police in isolated protests reported on Sunday.

"Take back extradition law!" was one of the slogans chanted by the protesters, most of them young.

"The government is against the will of people and continues to pass the law," Democratic Party spokesperson Lam Cheuk-ting said on Wednesday.

The proposed law, which was first tabled in February and the bill of which will be put to a final vote on Jun. 20, would allow Hong Kong to process case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macau, and without direct legislative supervision.

In theory, local courts would handle cases individually and could use veto powers to block extraditions.

The government maintains that the bill is necessary to cover a legal vacuum.

The bill has also faced staunch opposition from journalists, foreign politicians, non-governmental organizations and companies over fears that residents in Hong Kong - which belongs to China but has its own laws and currency - accused of crimes will be sent to mainland China.

In this way, local activists and dissidents living in Hong Kong could also be sent to mainland China for trial.

The Communist regime, devoid of control mechanisms and without any real separation of powers, pledged in 1997 - when Hong Kong's sovereignty was returned to China from the United Kingdom - to keep the system left by the British until 2047, although Beijing's pressure on the archipelago has been increasing.

msc-jt/pd/tw

News history
China urges Trump to keep his word, allow business with Huawei in US

Beijing, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Beijing on Monday urged Donald Trump to keep his word and allow companies in the United States to do business with Chinese tech...

8,000 evacuated due to wildfire in Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Some 8,000 people have been evacuated from several areas of Spain's Gran Canaria Islands due to a...

Trump acknowledges US' interest in buying Greenland from Denmark

Washington DC, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Sunday said that Greenland was strategically interesting for his country, although...

Colombian ex-ministers: Peace is being fired upon from many angles

By Juliana Alejandra Franco and Ovidio Castro

Trump defends China policy, says US economy is world's best

Washington, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his strategy versus China, on whose goods Washington has imposed heavy tariffs as...

Migrant rescue ship demands entry to Lampedusa

(Update 1: Adds details)

Open Arms continues stranded with 107 migrants on board

Madrid, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- The Spanish government has on Sunday offered the “Open Arms” migrant rescue vessel the possibility of docking at the southern...

Kashmir residents denounce high number of detentions in region

By Shah Abbas

An anti-government rally in Hong Kong

By Shirley Lau

Lacunza to be Argentina's new treasury minister as Dujovne quits

Buenos Aires, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- President Mauricio Macri said Sunday that Hernan Lacunza "is the right person" to replace former Finance Minister Nicolas...

Portland remains under strict police guard awaiting extremist demonstrations

Washington, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The city of Portland, Oregon, remained this Saturday under strong police guard after far-right and left-wing extremist groups...

At least 63 killed in suicide bombing at Kabul wedding

By Baber Khan Sahel

European Commission president cuts Austria vacation short for urgent surgery

Brussels, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has had to cut his vacation in Austria short for medical...

FAO: 39 million people suffer from hunger in Latin America

Montevideo, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- An increase in the number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, now totaling 39 million, is a...

Brazil's safest city an oasis of peace in country dogged by violent crime

By Carlos Meneses Sanchez

Sudan’s military council, opposition seal power-sharing political deal

Cairo, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- Sudan's opposition and the ruling military council that took power after the ousting of long-serving president Omar al-Bashir...

27 Migrant minors land on Italian isle despite interior minister's objections

By Virginia Hebrero.

US unseals warrant to seize Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar

By Benoit Faucon

India begins gradual easing of restrictions in Kashmir

New Delhi, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The Indian authorities on Saturday began easing restrictions that were imposed on the telecommunication lines in Jammu and...

Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket attack

Jerusalem/Gaza, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- Israel early Saturday struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after a rocket attack on its territory, Israeli Defense...

Kim supervised test of 'new weapon' in latest North Korean launch

Seoul, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- North Korea has tested a new weapon under the supervision of its leader with “mysterious and amazing” success, state news agency...

Trump addresses Taliban deal with senior advisors

Washington, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States met Friday with his national security team to discuss peace negotiations with the Taliban,...

Coroner rules Jeffrey Epstein's death a suicide

New York, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- The death of financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein inside a US federal detention facility here was a suicide,...

Tensions flare up following ban on anti-government protest in Zimbabwe

Harare, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- Clashes between protesters and police broke out on Friday, following a court order banning an anti-government demonstration.

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.