Thursday 19 September 2019

Hong Kong protesters mark brutal mob attack with sit-in

The black-clad protesters flooded into Yuen Long station to commemorate the July 21 rampage.

Demonstrators at Yuen Long station (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Demonstrators at Yuen Long station (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

By Johnson Lai and Yves Van Dam, Associated Press

Hong Kong protesters have staged a sit-in at a suburban train station to mark a month since a violent attack by masked assailants on supporters of the anti-government movement.

The black-clad protesters flooded into Yuen Long station to commemorate the July 21 rampage by a group of men suspected of organised crime links, in what was a shocking escalation of the city’s summer of protest.

Riot police arrived at the station near the end of the commemoration, apparently preparing to confront the protesters, some of whom had set up barricades on the road outside.

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Demonstrators during a protest at Yuen Long station (Kin Cheung/AP)

Police with riot shields faced off at the station entrance against protesters, who sprayed a firehose and spread oil on the floor to slow their approach.

Earlier, the protesters observed a moment of silence, then covered their right eyes, a reference to a woman who reportedly suffered a severe eye injury from a police projectile.

Many sat on the station floor, while others walked slowly around the concourse in a protest march.

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Demonstrators cover their right eyes (Kin Cheung/AP)

They also drew attention to what they say is a lack of progress by police in investigating the attack, which left protesters and passers-by injured. Protesters have accused the police of colluding with the attackers by pointing to their delayed response, but authorities have denied it.

Police say they have arrested 28 people in connection with the attack but have not charged anyone yet. They say some of those arrested have links to Triad organised crime syndicates.

The anti-government protests began more than two months ago and have spiralled into a political crisis, with supporters demanding full democracy and an investigation into alleged police brutality.

The Yuen Long attack came after a massive protest was winding down. The assailants, all clad in white in contrast to the protesters’ black, swung wooden poles and steel rods, injuring 45 people.

PA Media

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