Published: Sat, August 24, 2019

Hong Kong protesters sprayed with tear gas after ripping down ‘smart lampposts’

Hong Kong protesters sprayed with tear gas after ripping down ‘smart lampposts’

Hong Kong residents Friday night formed human chains across large parts of the city in a call for direct elections, a test of the continuing strength of the monthslong protest movement and a display that recalled a major anti-Soviet demonstration 30 years ago.

Last weekend's demonstration at Old City Hall in Toronto was the first time Simon Fung saw counter protesters, who chanted "Hong Kong belongs to China" and waved Chinese flags.

"Channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong", he wrote.

Police presence was thin and the protest ended promptly at 9:00pm, Hong Kong time.

As soon as they passed customs, visitors were surprised by a crowd of black-clad protesters, who smiled, sang, handed out flyers and made them a kind of guard of honor.

Hong Kong protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas, as chaotic scenes returned to the summer-long anti-government protests on Saturday for the first time in almost two weeks.

The offshore airport and the roads and railways leading to it were operating normally despite plans by protesters to implement a "stress test" of transport links and disrupt traffic after weeks of unrest in the Chinese-ruled city.

The protests began June 9 when hundreds of thousands of mostly young people marched against a proposed extradition bill that would allow individuals to be sent from semi-autonomous Hong Kong to mainland China for trial. Demonstrators ran in all directions in a strategy they've called "Be like Water" - a phrase taken from martial arts movie star Bruce Lee whereby they come together in a show of force and then disperse, like water, when police move in.

HONG KONG, CHINA - JULY 27: Riot police fire tear gas towards protesters in the district of Yuen Long on July 27, 2019 in Hong Kong, China.

None of this comes as a surprise to those who argued that the only way of ensuring the success of the One Country, Two Systems concept was to bolster the distinctiveness of the two systems and allow the development of political and social progress to make Hong Kong's promised autonomy a reality.

Some activists apologised for last week's airport turmoil, which resulted in more than 200 flights being cancelled.

Beijing has accused the USA, United Kingdom and other Western countries of being behind the unrest, warning foreign governments against meddling in its internal affairs.

Canada's latest travel advisory on Thursday warned of reports of increased screening of travellers' digital devices at border crossings between mainland China and Hong Kong.

"We will continue to provide support to them".

Ms Rebecca Sy, who worked for the airline's regional arm Cathay Dragon and is also a union leader, said she was pulled off a rota to fly to China and summarily dismissed the next day, Aug 21.

Mr Cheng was detained for violating mainland Chinese law and "confessed to his illegal acts", the statement said, without providing further details.

According to Shin, the counter-protests are cropping up now because Beijing is recognizing that the protests in Hong Kong, which are entering their 12th consecutive week, aren't going away. Between August 15 and 20, arrivals were down 49.6 per cent on the corresponding 2018 period.

Commerce Secretary Edward Yau said visitor arrivals started to fall in mid-July.

"It was the fastest and steepest drop in recent years, and the situation is obviously very worrisome", he told reporters.

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