Riot police fire tear gas to disperse Hong Kong protesters
The protests in Hong Kong's Kowloon district have wrapped up on this ninth consecutive weekend of mass demonstrations.
Here's what happened today:
- Rival protests: There was the main anti-extradition bill, anti-government march in Kowloon, and a smaller pro-police assembly in Causeway Bay's Victoria Park that ended in the late afternoon.
- Illegal assembly: The Kowloon march began in Mong Kok, but instead of finishing at the designated end point, protesters continued to Nathan Road. By deviating from the police-approved route, the march became an illegal assembly.
- Siege on police station: The protests quickly got ugly as night fell, with protesters surrounding and vandalizing the Tsim Sha Tsui police station. They broke car windows, lit a blaze outside the station, threw eggs, shone laser pointers at officers' faces, and graffitied obscenities onto the station walls.
- Showdown with police: Riot police were mobilized in the evening. Things got tense, with police firing tear gas and protesters throwing bricks, but the roads were cleared by 11:30 p.m.
Angry protesters forced a group of police to retreat behind the walls of a police station in Wong Tai Sin.
The protesters, who vastly outnumbered the police, were throwing projectiles like water bottles and rocks at the officers. Some of them vandalized the outside walls of the station with graffiti.
Police fired tear gas after futile attempts to disperse a crowd of protesters, they said in a statement.
"Police also appeal to the residents in the area to stay tuned to the latest situation and if necessary, stay indoors and keep their windows closed," the statement added.
Watch the scene here:
Dozens of protesters are locked in a standoff with riot police who have deployed tear gas near a bus terminal in Wong Tai Sin. Police appear to be surrounded by protesters.
Some scuffles broke out earlier in that area, with protesters throwing umbrellas and other projectiles at police, footage from local media showed.
After a long day of protesting, most people in Kowloon are heading home. They are catching the last trains -- nobody wants to be stranded, or risk being cornered by police.
There were reports earlier tonight that the protesters were heading to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, potentially to block vehicles traveling between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, but the tunnel is now open and running as usual.
The roads that had been occupied earlier are now also largely clear.
Footage from local media show some scuffles breaking out in a different section of Kowloon -- Wong Tai Sin. Protesters there are throwing umbrellas and other projectiles at police, who seem to be retreating.
Nathan Road, the major artery in Hong Kong's Kowloon district, is clear now as we approach midnight local time.
It had been blocked earlier this afternoon as protesters stopped traffic and cut cables for traffic lights on the road.
Now, the road is clear with no protesters, all the way from the Jordan subway station to Mong Kok Road -- a solid 15 to 20 blocks where the action had been taking place.
The last stragglers, a few hundred protesters, are now gathering at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
This is the ninth straight weekend of protests in Hong Kong -- and police, who have been deployed to respond each weekend, after already having worked weekday protests in some cases, are showing signs of strain.
"The police are frustrated," said CNN International Correspondent Matt Rivers, citing a confrontation two weeks ago when the police shouted back at a female protester.
"Frankly, it was not a professional scene among that police force. But it was also kind of a human scene, in some ways, where you saw the police expressing their frustration, basically telling the woman to shut up.
Night after night, they're out here, sweating, full riot gear. They don't necessarily agree with what the protesters are doing, they don't like the fact that they're firing tear gas in their own city in an unprecedented way. So there is frustration on both sides, but these protesters are going to keep coming out here because they believe that none of their demands have been addressed, and until they are, I don't see how this stops," Rivers said.
Watch the scene here:
Trains running on the Tsuen Wan and Kwun Tong subway lines have been modified by police request to clear the protests.
Normal service trains will not stop at the Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok stations, but additional trains will be arranged to help passengers at those stations leave.