Hong Kong Descends into Chaos Again as Protesters Defy Ban
Hong Kong streets descended into chaotic scenes again on Sunday, 21 October as protesters set up roadblocks and torched businesses on a main tourist drag and police responded with tear gas and a water cannon following an unauthorised pro-democracy rally.
Protesters tossed firebombs and took their anger out on shops with mainland Chinese ties as they skirmished late into the evening with riot police, who unleashed numerous tear gas rounds on short notice, angering residents and passers-by.
Some 24 people were hurt and treated at hospitals, including six with serious injuries, the Hospital Authority said.
Police did not give an arrest figure. One person was seen being handcuffed and taken away to a police van.
Supporters sang the protest movement's anthem, waved colonial and US flags, and held up placards depicting the Chinese flag as a Nazi swastika.
Many protesters wore masks in defiance of a recently introduced ban on face coverings at public gatherings, and volunteers handed more out to the crowd.
Matthew Lee, a university student, said he was determined to keep protesting even after more than four months.
"I can see some people want to give up, but I don't want to do this because Hong Kong is my home, we want to protect this place, protect Hong Kong," he said.
They tore up stones from the sidewalk and scattered them on the road, commandeered plastic safety barriers and unscrewed metal railings to form makeshift roadblocks.
At one point, the water cannon sprayed a handful of people standing outside a mosque.
Local broadcaster RTHK reported that the people hit were guarding the mosque and few protesters were nearby.
The Hong Kong police force said it was an "unintended impact" of its operation to disperse protesters and later sent a representative to meet the mosque's imam.
As night fell, protesters returned to the streets, setting trash on fire at intersections. Residents jeered at riot police, cursing at them and telling them to leave.
The officers, in turn, warned people that they were part of an illegal assembly and told them to leave, and unleashed tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Along the way, protesters trashed discount grocery shops and a restaurant chain because of what they say is the pro-Beijing ownership of the companies.
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