Hong Kong: Pepper Spray On Peaceful Protesters – The clashes took place on Wednesday morning at 3 AM when the police steer-cleared a tunnel filled with pro-democracy protesters.
The peaceful protests taking place in Hong Kong are becoming increasingly violent.
The clashes took place on Wednesday morning at 3 AM when the police steer-cleared a tunnel filled with pro-democracy protestors. The clashes erupted after the demonstrators took over a tunnel on the four-lane Queensway Road in the city.
The police reopened the road, pushing the protesters into a corner of Tamar Park, which sits atop the tunnel. Some protesters were wrestled to the ground by police too.
On Tuesday, the police had clashed with protestors as they tried to clear this underpass near the city government headquarters. Hundreds of police officers wearing riot shields used pepper spray to disperse the protesters.
The officers, after a failed attempt, used sledgehammers and chainsaws to tear down barricades. The police dragged away dozens of protestors, some of whom were reportedly beaten.
Reportedly, unlike on Monday, when clashes erupted between anti-protest groups and pro-democracy activists after police removed blockades, there was no immediate confrontation as a result of Tuesday’s operation.
According to the police, they had to disperse the protesters because they were disrupting public order and gathering illegally. The police admitted that around 45 protesters were arrested too.
After the tunnel was cleared, hundreds of people surprised the police by occupying another tunnel on Lung Wu Road, an important east-west artery near the offices of the Hong Kong government and legislature, in the evening.
The crackdown has escalated the tension in the city while the authorities, who have been growing impatient with traffic-chocking demonstrations on streets, have heaved a sigh of relief.
Beijing issued its harshest condemnations yet of the protests on Wednesday, calling them illegal, bad for business and against Hong Kong’s best interests. A front-page editorial Wednesday in the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, condemned the protests and said “they are doomed to fail.”
Demonstrators, a mix of students and a pro-democracy group called Occupy Central, have occupied parts of Hong Kong for more than two weeks. The student-led protesters are now into their third week of occupying key parts of the city to pressure the Asian financial center’s government over curbs recommended by Beijing on democratic reforms.
Protesters want China’s government to drop plans for a pro-Beijing committee to screen candidates in the territory’s first direct elections, promised for 2017. They also demand that Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader, Leung Chun-ying, resign. Leung has said there is “almost zero chance” that China’s government will change its rules for the 2017 election.
As many as 200,000 people had thronged the streets for peaceful sit-ins and they called it Satyagraha. But the polarization in the Hong Kong politics and use of tear gas shells by the police on 28 September to disperse unarmed protesters changed the nature of this peaceful protest.
The clashes erupted after the demonstrators took over a tunnel on the four-lane Queensway Road in the city.