Hong Kong’s poorest district was hit by chaos for the second night in a row on Tuesday, with unrest lasting into Wednesday’s early hours, as riot police played cat-and-mouse with protesters in its narrow and dark streets.
Almost 100 people, including masked protesters in black and many local residents without protective gear, had gathered outside the police station in Sham Shui Po since the evening, the fourth consecutive night the compound had become a lightning rod for anti-government discontent.
They shouted the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong; Revolution of our times” and aimed laser pointers at the building’s facade. Owners of nearby food stalls went along to give free sweet soup to the crowd, to show their support.
At about 11.30pm, officers used a loudspeaker to ask the crowds to leave, riot police raising a blue flag from inside the compound.
Emotions were running high among protesters, who then used rubbish bins and other large objects to block traffic near Yen Chow Street and Cheung Sha Wan Road, a major thoroughfare which was partly blocked.
After midnight, a few dozen riot police officers rushed from the station to chase protesters, who fled to the nearby streets.
Police officers then began to stop people on the street and search the area.
At least four young men were taken away by police after being stopped on the street. One of them told reporters he was a local resident and had only gone out for a beer.
During officers’ search of the area, which lasted about 40 minutes, residents shouted at them and told them to go away. Many more residents emerged from their homes to boo police, until the officers drove off before 12.50am.
Crowds had gathered nightly at the station since Saturday, with similar unrest on Monday leading to two arrests.
Protests – many ending in clashes with police – have swept Hong Kong since early June. The movement was sparked by opposition to an extradition bill which would have allowed fugitive transfers to mainland China, but has since broadened to cover many grievances with the local and central governments.
Earlier on Tuesday, Hong Kong’s leader vowed to tackle the unrest by legal means, adding that police would not respond to violence with more of their own.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also admitted the crux of the political stalemate lay with the government’s refusal to meet protesters’ demands.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Hong Kong protests: police ban planned rally outside Cathay Pacific HQ
- Hong Kong protesters rotate tactics between radical and restrained, keeping city guessing
- Hong Kong protests: video footage reveals why police officer fired revolver as shattered Tsuen Wan picks up pieces after night of mayhem and violence
This article Riot police in Sham Shui Po disperse another Hong Kong anti-government protest first appeared on South China Morning Post