Hong Kong violence worsens after police fire tear gas
Video and photos show police attacking protesters
Violence in Hong Kong has worsened as riot police fired tear gas into a railway station to disperse crowds and were filmed beating protesters with batons as they fled down an escalator at another station.
As mass demonstrations calling for democracy entered their 10th consecutive week, petrol bombs and bricks were thrown at riot police who then charged at protesters with batons.
A number of people, including a police officer, were injured in the clashes. Police were also filmed firing rubber bullets at close range inside a rail station.
“Two months of demonstrations sparked by a controversial extradition bill show no signs of abating,” says the BBC, “with both sides hardening their stance.”
The bill, which would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, has been suspended but demonstrators want it to be fully withdrawn.
Their demands have also widened, to incorporate calls for an independent inquiry into claims of police brutality, and for Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam to resign.
Although the bill sparked the largest demonstrations since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, Lam has steadfastly refused to meet any demands beyond the pledge that the bill is now “suspended”.
Sky News says that the Hong Kong police have been “slammed by the protest groups for being too violent and then criticised from above for being too weak,” adding: “in the last 24 hours they have clearly decided that they aren't going to be seen as weak anymore”.
Protesters were injured as undercover riot police took to task a crowd in Causeway Bay and began to arrest people. Widely shared photos on social media showed one woman bleeding heavily from her eye after she was hit by police fire at another demonstration.
The battleground is now moving beyond the streets. The airline Cathay Pacific has caved in to pressure from China, sacking two ground crew and suspending a pilot for “misconduct” in supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.
The Hong Kong carrier said it suspended a pilot who took part in pro-democracy protests, and faces charges for rioting. It has also fired two ground staff members for allegedly leaking the travel arrangements for a Hong Kong police football team travelling to the mainland for a tournament.