Hong Kong welcomes new decade with fresh protest

Hong Kong welcomes new decade with fresh protest
Many thousands of protesters gathered to march on the first day of the year. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times, Hong Kong: Hong Kong welcomed the new decade with a pro-democracy march where thousands of protesters joined.

The rally was almost peaceful, but some parts of the rally went violent and police responded by firing tear gas.

On New Year’s Eve, protesters gathered for midnight countdowns by Victoria Harbour and later they formed a human chain that stretched for miles down busy shopping streets.

They chanted “Ten! Nine! Liberate Hong Kong, revolution now!”. Some angry protesters set fire to barricades after dark and let off fireworks, disrupting traffic.

South China Morning Post reported police used water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas to clear Nathan Road in Mong Kok.

Some 40 parliamentarians and dignitaries from 18 countries urged Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam on New Year’s Eve to “seek genuine ways forward out of this crisis by addressing the grievances of Hong Kong people”.

Hong Kong’s anti-government protest broke out in June last year when plans to allow extradition to mainland China. In response to revere protest broke out, the Hong Kong government cancelled that plan. But the protest morphed into a broader movement demanding full democracy.

Protesters made five demands to the HK authority and adopted the motto: “Five demands, not one less!”

Their fifth demand the withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill – has already been met. But other demands such as an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality to the protesters, an amnesty for those arrested, universal suffrage and for the protests not to be characterised as “riots”.

HK authorities arrested more than 6,500 protesters so far.

In the after of the first day of the new year, people of all ages gathered to march from the city’s Victoria Park. A protester named Tung said “It’s hard to utter ‘Happy New Year’ because Hong Kong people are not happy’.

Some wore masks, defying a ban on face coverings, and carried signs reading, “Freedom is not free”.