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Hong Kong police fire tear gas, roll out water cannon trucks

Last Updated Aug 25, 2019 at 7:12 am PST

A woman wears a raincoat stands next to banners that read "The duty fulfilled by the police belongs to the people" as people take part in a rally to support the Hong Kong's Police at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Summary

Protesters in Hong Kong have demanded that the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, step down

They have also made a broader call for fully democratic elections

HONG KONG – Police in Hong Kong used tear gas Sunday to clear pro-democracy demonstrators who had taken over a street and brought out water cannon trucks for the first time in the summerlong protests.

The skirmish on a main drag in the outlying Tsuen Wan district followed a march that ended in a nearby park. While a large crowd rallied in the park, a group of hard-line protesters took over a main street, strewing bamboo poles on the pavement and lining up orange and white traffic barriers and cones to obstruct police.

After hoisting warning flags, police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Protesters responded by throwing bricks and gasoline bombs toward the police. The result was a surreal scene of small fires and scattered paving bricks on the street between the two sides, rising clouds of tear gas and green and blue laser lights pointed by the protesters at the police.

The protesters eventually decided to abandon their position. Two water cannon trucks and a phalanx of police vehicles with flashing lights joined riot police on foot as they advanced up the street. They met little resistance. Television footage showed a water cannon being fired once, but perhaps more as a test, as it didn’t appear to reach the retreating protesters.

Prior to the skirmishes, tens of thousands of umbrella-carrying protesters marched in the rain. Many filled Tsuen Wan Park, the endpoint of the rally, chanting, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.

The march in Hong Kong’s New Territories started near the Kwai Fong train station, which has become a focal point for protesters after police used tear gas there earlier this month. Police with riot gear could be seen moving into position along the march route.

Protesters have taken to the semiautonomous Chinese territory’s streets for more than two months. Their demands include democratic elections and an investigation into police use of force to quell the protests.