Hong Kong Police Ban Mass March After Subway Station Fire
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police banned a planned Sunday march and gathering called by the organizer of some of the city’s biggest protests, days after demonstrators set fire to a central subway station as the pro-democracy movement carries into autumn.
Police commissioner Stephen Lo on Thursday cited violence around previous protests -- with some demonstrators vandalizing public installations, blocking roads and setting fires, which caused injuries to protesters, officers and journalists -- in making the decision, according to a letter of objection issued to the Civil Human Rights Front. Police also said Sunday’s location was close to “high-risk buildings” that could be subject to violence, including central government offices, the letter said.
The ban is the second issued to CHRF by police since it began organizing mass rallies in early June, bringing hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets of the Asian financial hub. Co-vice convener Bonnie Leung told journalists that the group was appealing.
Hong Kong on Aug. 31 saw one of its worst days of violence since the movement began, as thousands of people came out in defiance of a prior ban on a planned CHRF demonstration. People threw bricks and Molotov cocktails, setting fire to a huge road block in the city center. Police cautioned residents in some areas to stay inside as they used “appropriate force” to disperse the crowds.
Small pockets of demonstrators also set fires, vandalized train stations and erected barricades in the city center this past Sunday -- including setting fire to an entrance at Central station, in a glitzy business and shopping area -- after a peaceful march by tens of thousands of people to the U.S. consulate in a bid to appeal to President Donald Trump.
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