Hong Kong police draw guns in latest protest violence

Hong Kong police drew their weapons and deployed water cannons for the first time as the civil unrest in the Chinese city entered its 11th week.

Pro-democracy protesters hurled gasoline bombs, sticks and rods at police in riot gear in the latest confrontation, which erupted at the end of a protest march that saw thousands of umbrella-carrying protesters flood city streets in the rain — as they did in a peaceful march last week.

This time, the two sides clashed in the Tsuen Wan district, with protesters briefly taking over a city street before being dispersed by water cannons and tear gas.

“The escalation you’re seeing now is just a product of our government’s indifference toward the people of Hong Kong,” said one protester, Rory Wong.

Pro-democracy Hong Kong residents have been rebelling since early this summer over what they see as Communist China’s increasing control over the Special Administrative Region, which is technically part of China but was promised more democratic rights than the Communist mainland when England ceded control in 1997.

They are demanding the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, democratic elections and an independent investigation into police abuse.

Sunday’s march began near the Kwai Fong train station, which has become a focal point for the protests in recent weeks. A similar rain-soaked march last week went off without violent clashes, as police stood down and did not interfere with marchers.

On Sunday, demonstrators chanted “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” as they made their way to Tsuen Wan Park. But a group of hard-line protesters then took over a main street, holding off police with bamboo poles and traffic barricades in the latest clash.

The march came after protesters on Friday formed a human chain in what they dubbed “The Hong Kong Way,” and a more violent clash with police on Saturday, which saw police use tear gas and protesters sawing down a city “smart lamppost” which they thought was spying on them.

Authorities reported 29 arrests on Saturday after protesters built barricades to hold off police.

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