Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Hong Kong on security alert amid wave of protests

Reuters

HONG KONG: Tens of thousands marched in sweltering heat in Hong Kong yesterday as anti-government protests show no sign of let-up. Yesterday’s rally is the seventh weekend in-a-row that residents have come out en-masse.

Large protests began last month in opposition to a contentious extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to stand trial in mainland China, where critics say their rights would be compromised. Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, has declared the bill dead, but protesters are dissatisfied with her refusal to formally withdraw the bill. Some are also calling for her to resign amid growing concerns about the steady erosion of civil rights in city.

Hong Kong is on edge after a series of skirmishes between activists and police at a wave of recent rallies that have extended across the territory. Police late on Friday seized a cache of explosives and weapons in an industrial building in the New Territories district of Tsuen Wan. Three people were arrested in connection with the seizure, which police described as the largest ever of its kind in Hong Kong. Government and police headquarters, which were targeted by protesters in previous rallies, were barricaded by massive water barriers, while media said 5,000 police were deployed for the rally.

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