HongKong (AP): Hong Kong riot police have been deployed to chase down a group of pro-democracy protesters they say were assembling illegally after the end of a sanctioned protest march.
The protesters had gathered outside a police station on Saturday evening, shining laser pointers and throwing eggs at officers guarding the entrance. Riot police formed a line on a nearby street, thumping their batons on their shields as they started marching.
But by that time, most protesters had already melted away into Hong Kong’s densely populated Mong Kok district, leaving officers to face the anger of local residents, who yelled for them to go home and accused them of being members of crime gangs.
Pro-democracy protesters marched on one side of Hong Kong’s famous harbour to demand the government heed their demands. Across the water, a pro-government rally called for an end to the often violent protests.
The dueling demonstrations highlighted the political divide in the semiautonomous Chinese territory, which for 10 weeks has been rocked by protests that show no signs of relenting.
“The government right now doesn’t listen to the people, and the police are too violent,” said Bobby Tse, a 76-year-old retiree who watched the pro-democracy march from a bridge. “It didn’t used to be like this. We didn’t have to protest every week. But now even though we have protests every week, the government still gives no response.”
At the pro-government rally, speakers on a stage said they love both Hong Kong and China and asked the protesters why they are afraid of China. Leo Chen, a 47-year-old driver, said he came out because he wants peace in his city of 7.4 million people.
“Before, everyone in Hong Kong helped each other, it was very harmonious,” he said. “Now to see it become like this, I’m not happy, so I’ve come out to show a little strength.”