Tear gas was back in the air in Hong Kong as thousands of protesters took to the streets Sunday in a fresh wave of pro-Democracy protests that ended a period of relative calm. It marked the first major wave of protests since pro-democracy candidates won big in local elections last Sunday. There were three separate demonstrations on Sunday, all of which received approval from police. The first two protests were peaceful, but in the third there were confrontations with police, which said some protesters did not follow the approved route of the march and attacked officers.
The third march was by far the largest and packed a busy shopping district with a diverse group of protesters, including some elderly residents. Police arrested several people as the tear gas forced people to flee the demonstration. “As some radical protesters passed by Mody Road Garden via Salisbury Road, they hurled bricks at Police officers. Police officers, in response, deployed the minimum necessary force, including tear gas, to stop their illegal acts,” according to a statement from police.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people marched to the U.S. consulate to express gratitude t Washington for its support of the demonstrations. Many of the protesters were waving American flags as they thanked Washington for passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. President Donald Trump signed that legislation Wednesday authorizing sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong. Some protesters carried banners reading “Let’s make Hong Kong great again.” Earlier in the week, protesters in Hong Kong carried posters with the image of Trump’s face superimposed on Rocky Balboa’s body as a show of gratitude to the U.S. president.
The protests in Hong Kong began in June, sparked by a proposal that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. That proposal has been scrapped but the demands of the protesters have since expanded.
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