Hong Kong, May 11 (IANS) Eighteen people were hospitalized and more than 250 arrested in Hong Kong following clashes between demonstrators and the police, according to media reports on Monday.
Protesters gathered on Sunday in several shopping malls in the city, where they raised slogans, while some others later attempted to block the streets of Mong Kok’s shopping district by creating improvised barricades, reports Efe news.
Police responded by firing tear gas and making more than 250 arrests, some of them resulting in violence and many of those affected had to be transferred to hospitals.
Among those admitted were Democratic Party legislator Roy Kwong who had reportedly visited the site to mediate between police and protesters.
Officers brought him down with a blow to the abdomen and then a policeman held him to the ground by pressing his head against the sidewalk with his knee, according to state-owned RTHK broadcaster.
A source cited by the South China Morning Post claimed that more than 200 arrested were charged with illegal assembly.
In the case of Kwong, the Democratic Party issued a statement detailing that he had been arrested for alleged public disorder.
According to the police, another arrested protester was in possession of materials that could have been used for making Molotov cocktails.
Since last month, pro-democracy protests have resumed in Hong Kong following a period of long absence from the streets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mass protests in Hong Kong began in June 2019 against a controversial extradition bill – already withdrawn by the government – and soon evolved into a movement seeking to expand democratic mechanisms in former British colony and oppose Beijing’s alleged authoritarianism.
In the following months, clashes between the most radical groups of protesters and the police were commonplace, which had a severe impact on the local economy as it fell into recession for the first time in a decade.