A peaceful rally in Hong Kong has descended into chaos as police fired teargas and water cannon at protesters who hurled petrol bombs, set fires and clashed with residents. Tens of thousands of demonstrators defied a police ban and marched on the seat of the government calling for greater democracy in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Hong Kong’s premier women’s tennis event scheduled for October has been postponed due to the pro-democracy protests, organizers announced on Friday. The city is witnessing a fourth month of sometimes violent protests sparked by a bill that would have drawn the former British colony closer to the Chinese legal system. The bill was withdrawn last week, but the protests are continuing.
Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are appealing to President Donald Trump for help as they march near the US consulate general in the city. Some are carrying banners reading, “President Trump, please save Hong Kong” and “Make Hong Kong great again”. Sunday’s crowd waved US flags and chanted pleas for the US to “liberate” Hong Kong from China. China has consistently warned other countries not to interfere.
Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam has said that she has never offered to step down, a day after an audio recording emerged of her saying she would quit if she had “a choice”. “For a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc to Hong Kong is unforgivable. If I have a choice, the first thing [I would do] is to quit, having made a deep apology,” Lam is heard saying in the recording.
Hong Kong authorities on Friday charged pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong with organizing an illegal protest as they tighten a clampdown on unrest that has plunged the Asian financial hub into its biggest political crisis in more than two decades. Police arrested several other activists and blocked plans for a mass demonstration on Saturday, in a show of force a day before the fifth anniversary of China’s decision to rule out universal suffrage in the former British colony.
Google announced Thursday that it had disabled 210 YouTube channels that were uploading videos “in a coordinated manner” about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. The announcement came three days after Twitter and Facebook announced they had shut down a network of hundreds of accounts that were posting content aimed at undermining pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said he was “not aware” of specifics when asked about the YouTube channels.
Twitter said Monday it has suspended more than 200,000 accounts that it believes were part of a Chinese government influence campaign targeting the protest movement in Hong Kong. The company also said it will ban ads from state-backed media companies, expanding a prohibition it first applied in 2017 to two Russian entities. After being notified by Twitter and conducting its own investigation, Facebook said Monday that it has also removed seven pages.
Flights have resumed in and out of Hong Kong airport after two days of protests by pro-democracy activists as Chinese officials condemned the disruption that paralyzed the international hub as “near-terrorist acts”. Hundreds of flights were canceled on Tuesday after demonstrators blockaded two terminals in the latest escalation of a 10-week political crisis that has gripped the city.
Hong Kong’s airport authority has suspended flights for a second day as thousands of protesters staged another rally at the busy international travel hub. Tuesday’s action marked the fifth consecutive day of protests at the airport, as pro-democracy demonstrations in the Chinese territory entered their 10th week, with both sides showing few signs of backing down.
China clamped down on Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. after employees of Hong Kong’s dominant airline joined anti-Beijing protests. China’s civil aviation authority said Friday it issued a major aviation safety risk warning to Hong Kong-based Cathay for failing to take appropriate action, and ordered the carrier to ban all employees who supported or joined the recent protests from flying to the mainland starting Saturday.