HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s police said on Sunday they arrested 29 people after clashes overnight in which volleys of tear gas were fired to disperse anti-government protesters, as the Asian financial hub braced for more demonstrations later in the day.
The city’s rail operator, MTR Corp, announced it was suspending some services in the west of the territory due to public activities taking place in the area.
Activists threw petrol bombs and bricks on Saturday in the gritty industrial district of Kwun Tong, a densely populated area of the Chinese territory on the east of the Kowloon peninsula. Four MTR subway stations were closed due to the protests.
Police used tear gas after some protesters threw Molotov cocktails and bricks and others tore up “smart” lamp posts equipped with surveillance cameras. Other demonstrators had set up roadblocks with bamboo scaffolding.
It was the first use of tear gas in more than a week after a series of mostly peaceful demonstrations in the former British colony.
The protests, which started over a now-suspended extradition bill and have evolved into demands for greater democracy, have rocked Hong Kong for three months and plunged the city into its biggest political crisis since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
Police said in a statement on Sunday they strongly condemned protesters “breaching public peace” and that 19 men and 10 women had been arrested. More than 700 have been arrested since the demonstrations began in June.
Those arrested also included the organizer of Saturday’s march, Ventus Lau, public broadcaster RTHK reported.
Another protest is planned for Sunday in the working class district of Tsuen Wan, while demonstrators also plan a city-wide strike and class boycotts at universities in coming weeks.
On Saturday, China freed British consulate worker Simon Cheng, whose detention had fueled tensions.
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