Over 230 people has been arrested for unlawful assembly and a range of other offenses, including assaulting a police officer after a sing-along demonstration at a shopping mall spilled out to the streets of the city, Hong Kong authorities said Monday, May 11.
Hundreds of riot police were deployed to disperse the protesters on Sunday. Some members of the media caught up in the chaos, with riot police pushing back some reporters and firing pepper spray amid chaotic scenes.
The scene in the working class district of Mong Kok was reminiscent of the violence that rocked the global financial hub last year.
Hong Kong police in riot gear told protesters they were staging an illegal assembly and violating anti-virus measures that bar gatherings of more than eight people.
Footage showed protesters being subdued on the ground, scuffles and people bleeding.
Police fired pepper spray at journalists and activists, and conducted stop and search operations on members of the public and media.
According to the police those arrested were aged between 12 and 65 and their offences included unlawful assembly, assaulting a police officer and failing to produce proof of identity.
A 22-year-old man was found to have materials believed to be intended for making petrol bombs, police said.
Meanwhile, the Hospital Authority said 18 people were taken to hospital for injuries.
The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association (HKJA) said some members of the press were prevented from filming.
“Some journalists who were sprayed by pepper spray were not allowed to receive immediate treatment, and they were requested to stop filming,” said Chris Yeung, chairman of the HKJA.
Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and strict rules to curb its spread had brought a relative lull in protests this year, but the recent arrest of activists and renewed concern about Beijing’s tightening grip on the city have revived the movement.
One of the prominent people arrested is Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong,who was charged with “disorderly conduct in a public place”, police said.
Video footage showed Kwong apparently being pushed to the ground and then surrounded by officers. He was later taken to hospital after he said he was feeling unwell.
The financial hub is gearing up for protests over the next few months, with activists calling for two million people to gather for an annual march on Jul 1 that marks the anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997. (Source: CNA)