Protests Erupt in Hong Kong a Day After Shooting – The New York Times

Protests Erupt in Hong Kong a Day After Shooting – The New York Times

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Protesters angered by the shooting of a Hong Kong demonstrator fanned out across the city on Tuesday, blocking transit and scuffling with the police.

The crowds brought parts of the city’s central business district to a standstill around lunchtime. Police officers also fired tear gas at protesters who threw bricks and built barricades near university campuses.

The protests in the semiautonomous Chinese city began in June over a contentious, but since-withdrawn, extradition bill. The demonstrations have since morphed into calls for greater democracy and police accountability.

Here’s the latest on the Hong Kong protests.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, criticized protesters on Tuesday for disrupting transit, saying that they were “extremely selfish” for wanting to paralyze Hong Kong.

Mrs. Lam told reporters that the protesters were out to “create a phenomenon in which Hong Kong seems to have come to a standstill and people are not able to go to work and go to school.”

School administrators should urge students to stop taking part in illegal activities, she said, adding that her government would do its “very best” to ensure that local elections planned for Nov. 24 were held in a “fair, just, safe, orderly” manner.

Separately, People’s Daily, an official government newspaper in mainland China, said in a commentary: “Only by supporting the police force to decisively put down the riots can a peaceful environment be restored and fair elections be held, and help Hong Kong start again.”

Hundreds of protesters, including many office workers, stormed Hong Kong’s central business district at lunchtime. Some formed human chains to pass along bags of bricks that front line activists were using to block traffic.

One activist sprayed “3 x 9 mm” on a bus in graffiti, referring to the three demonstrators who have been shot with live rounds by the police since the protests began in June.

Across the harbor, activists in the Mong Kok neighborhood placed barricades in front of buses and punctured their tires.

The city’s subway operator said on Tuesday morning that services were also delayed after gasoline bombs had been thrown onto the tracks of a major rail line that runs to the border of the Chinese mainland.

Large groups of commuters were seen walking along the line’s tracks — a rare scene in a city known for its efficiency and order.

A police officer shot a black-clad protester at point-blank range on Monday morning in a neighborhood where traffic had been snarled by roadblocks. Elsewhere, a man was doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire after he scolded protesters, video footage shows. The police have said they are treating the immolation as an attempted murder.

The medical status of the protester who was shot had improved to serious from critical condition by Tuesday morning, the Hospital Authority said. But the man who had been set on fire remained in critical condition.

Tensions in Hong Kong had been building after the death last week of a student who fell from a parking garage amid demonstrations.

The police said that 287 people were arrested on Monday, the majority of them students.

Even though many confrontational protesters are undergraduates, violence on the campuses of Hong Kong’s universities has been rare.

In the past two days, however, black-clad demonstrators have been making a concerted effort to defend their campuses against what they see as unwarranted police encroachment.

On Monday, protesters threw Molotov cocktails and glass bottles at police lines on the fringes of some campuses. Officers responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and apparently entering the grounds of several campuses for the first time since the protests began in June.

One epicenter of campus violence has been the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in a leafy area of northern Hong Kong. Five students were arrested on Monday at its entrances, the university said on its Facebook page.

On Tuesday, protesters built roadblocks outside one entrance, and a few were spotted on campus carrying bows and arrows. Police officers in the vicinity tackled protesters to the ground and sprayed tear gas at others who had gathered on a sports field.

The university said that classes would be canceled on Wednesday for a third straight day in light of road blockages, “severe damage” to campus facilities and the “high risk of ongoing confrontation between protesters and the police.”

On Monday night in Washington, the State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, said the United States government condemned “violence on all sides” in Hong Kong and urged the government to “address the underlying concerns driving the protests.”

Ms. Ortagus also reminded the Hong Kong government that the United States grants it a favorable trade status unlike that of mainland China, but only under specific conditions.

Congress and President Trump could enact a bill that mandates that the executive branch impose sanctions on Hong Kong officials who violate human rights and also review the special status of Hong Kong each year.

Many protesters have called for the bill to be passed, thinking the new law would give them leverage, but Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and Senate leader, has not held a floor vote, even though the bill passed the House by unanimous consent.

Tiffany May and Katherine Li contributed reporting.


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