Chinese flag trampled in new Hong Kong protests
Protesters in Hong Kong trampled a Chinese flag, vandalised two subway stations and started at least two street fires, as pro-democracy demonstrations took a violent turn once again.
The day's action began peacefully, as protesters filled a shopping mall and, in a new twist, folded paper origami cranes that they tied on to a large rigging they assembled in the mall in the outlying Sha Tin district.
Some put a Chinese flag on the floor and took turns running over it, before defacing it and putting it in a bin outside, which they then pushed into a nearby river.
Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests, now in their fourth month, have often descended into violence late in the day and at night. A hardcore group of protesters says the extreme actions are needed to get the government's attention. On Saturday, police used tear gas and rubber rounds against protesters who threw petrol bombs towards them and set fires in streets.
As yesterday's protest at Sha Tin New Town Plaza wound down, some protesters attacked a subway station connected to the mall.
They jumped up to smash overhead surveillance cameras, used hammers to knock ticket sensors off gates and spray-painted and broke the screens of ticket machines, using umbrellas to shield their identities.
Riot police arrived following the attack and guarded the station after it was closed.
Outside, protesters built a barricade across a street near the mall and set it on fire.
Police fired tear gas as they tried to advance on the protesters, who took positions behind a wall of hand-held umbrellas before ending their demonstration.
Protesters also vandalised the Kwai Fong subway station, which was then closed. They also set a street fire in the city's Mong Kok area that firefighters put out.