Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 5-Chinese soldiers help clean up Hong Kong streets, but violence flares again


UPDATE 5-Chinese soldiers help clean up Hong Kong streets, but violence flares again
Representative image

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in shorts and t-shirts appeared in Hong Kong streets on Saturday, helping residents clean up debris after anti-government protests blocked roads. The presence of PLA troops on the streets, even in such a role, could stoke further controversy over the Chinese-ruled territory's autonomous status.

On Saturday night, police fired tear gas while protesters threw petrol bombs, used slingshots, and fired arrows in clashes on streets outside the Polytechnic University. Hong Kong has been rocked by more than five months of demonstrations by protesters angry at perceived Communist Party meddling in the former British colony, which was guaranteed its freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Beijing denies interfering and has blamed the unrest on foreign influences. Clashes between protesters and police have become increasingly violent. China has said any attempt at independence for Hong Kong will be crushed, but troops have remained inside their base.

Chinese state media repeatedly broadcast comments made on Thursday by President Xi Jinping, in which he denounced the unrest and said: "stopping violence and controlling the chaos while restoring order is currently Hong Kong's most urgent task". In a commentary on Saturday, the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper called on public institutions to act "quickly and decisively" to suppress and punish violence in Hong Kong.

Saturday's clean-up followed some of the worst violence seen this year, after a police operation against protesters at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Tuesday. The authorities have since largely stayed away from at least five university campuses that had been barricaded by thousands of students and activists who stockpiled petrol bombs, catapults, bows and arrows, and other weapons.

Many protesters appeared to have left the campuses by late Saturday but Hong Kong's Cross-Harbour Tunnel was still blocked by protesters occupying Polytechnic University. Violence flared again on Saturday night. Earlier, hundreds of pro-China demonstrators gathered by the city's legislature and police headquarters, waving Chinese and Hong Kong flags. Some held up posters reading "Police we stand with you", while others chanted "Support the police".

Pro-China protests have so far attracted much smaller numbers than those angry at Beijing. RARE TROOP PRESENCE

By late afternoon, the PLA soldiers had left the streets outside Baptist University beside their barracks in Kowloon Tong. Chinese troops have appeared on streets only once since the 1997 handover to help clear up after a typhoon in 2018. It was not clear how many were involved on Saturday.

The PLA garrison in Hong Kong said that when some residents began cleaning, some troops "helped clear the road in front of the garrison gate". A city spokesman said the Hong Kong government did not request assistance from the PLA but the military initiated the operation as a "voluntary community activity".

Demosistō, a pro-democracy organization, said Saturday's clean-up operation could set a "grave precedent" if the city's government invites the military to deal with internal problems. In August, Beijing moved thousands of troops across the border into Hong Kong in what state news agency Xinhua described as a routine rotation. Foreign envoys and security analysts estimate up to 12,000 troops are now based across Hong Kong - more than double the usual garrison number.

Standing beside a black flag with the slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times," James Wong, 23, was among a handful of protesters still manning a bridge at Baptist University. "We didn't want to confront the people and the PLA troops directly," he told Reuters. "We are not directly against the PLA, but rather the government. But the PLA should not leave their base because this is Hong Kong territory."

Hundreds of residents moved in to help clear barricaded roads near several universities. Clashes on Saturday saw at least one petrol bomb thrown before anti-government protesters at the campuses retreated. No soldiers appeared to have been involved in the confrontations. "We just want our lives to continue," said one resident who was helping clear streets near HKU. "There are many elderly who need to go to the hospital and children who need to go to school. I am very sad to see what is happening in my community."

PRO-POLICE DEMONSTRATION Saturday's rally to denounce the anti-government violence drew a mix of young and elderly.

"A lot of people keep silent, afraid of the rioters. It's time for all the people who are silent to step up and say that's enough," said a 49-year-old housewife surnamed Kong. A 70-year-old street cleaner died on Thursday after being hit on the head brick police said had been thrown by rioters. On Monday, police blamed a rioter for dousing a man in petrol and setting him on fire. The victim is in critical condition.

On the same day, the police shot a protester in the abdomen. He was in a stable condition. Pro-police protesters laid white flowers outside the government office to pay their respects to the cleaner. Others applauded and cheered the police, some bowing and giving thumbs up as they walked past riot police on duty.

Train services suspended earlier in the week were gradually resuming, metro operator MTR Corp said. In a commentary on Saturday the Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper called on public institutions to act "quickly and decisively" to suppress and punish violence in Hong Kong (Additional reporting by Greg Torode, Jessie Pang, Kate Lamb, Tom Lasseter, and Anne Marie Roantree. Writing by Josh Smith, Farah Master, and Nick Macfie; Editing by Kim Coghill and Catherine Evans)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

Sentiment Analysis of Twitter users during COP 25: Governments losing trust on Climate Action

Sentiment analysis of Twitter users during COP25 in Madrid, being held from December 2-13, shows widespread fear on climate change due to global warming but almost no trust on governments in meeting the emission targets. In the analysis the...

These innovators are making humanitarian response more efficient

These alarming trends prompt a call for the world to not only address the ongoing crisis but also to adopt innovative approaches to fulfill the growing humanitarian needs in such emergencies. ...

Hyderabad Encounter: A sentiment analysis of public mood on day of encounter

Sentiment analysis of twitter users revealed that they showered salutes on Hyderabad police for eliminating alleged gang rapists of the veterinary doctor but only a few believe in cops version of successive events leading to encounter....

Hyderabad Encounter: Time to review modern judiciary and restore people’s confidence

Its probably for the first time in the history of independent India, the parliamentarians, chief ministers and ministers in the Union and State governments are openly supporting an encounter. This indicates the people from top to bottom hav...

Videos

Latest News

UPDATE 1-FBI to investigate deadly New Jersey kosher grocery rampage as domestic terrorism - official

Investigators are probing the deadly attack on a New Jersey kosher grocery store earlier this week as an act of domestic terrorism motivated by anti-Semitism and hatred of law enforcement, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and New Jersey...

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill gets President's assent, becomes Act

President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday gave his assent to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, turning it into an Act. According to an official notification, the Act comes into effect with its publication in the official gazette on Thursday...

Uphold democratic values on which India was founded: US Congressman on Kashmir situation

A US Congressman has urged the Indian government to uphold the democratic values upon which the country was founded while expressing concern over the prevailing situation in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370. The development c...

UPDATE 1-Warren attacks Democratic rivals over big money, vows to fix 'rigged' U.S. economy

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Thursday accused her more moderate rivals of failing to stand up to the wealthy and pledged to fix a rigged U.S. economy, as she sought to re-energize her stalled campaign. Warren delive...

Give Feedback