Fires Erupt in Hong Kong

Welcome to week 13 of the protests
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 31, 2019 1:00 PM CDT
Gasoline Bombs, Fires Mark Hong Kong Protest
Protestors run for cover from tear gas shells in Hong Kong, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Protesters in Hong Kong threw gasoline bombs at government headquarters and set fires in the street on Saturday, while police fired tear gas and blue-colored water from truck-mounted cannons in the 13th consecutive weekend of anti-government and anti-police demonstrations, the AP reports. The protesters provoked and obstructed the police repeatedly but generally retreated once riot officers moved in, avoiding the direct clashes that characterized earlier protests. It may have been a calculated strategy to avoid arrest, as police have been detaining more people when they move in to break up groups occupying streets. Hong Kong, a city of 7.4 million people, has been riven by protests for nearly three months.

The mostly young, black-shirted protesters took over roads and major intersections in shopping districts as they rallied and marched with no obvious destination in mind. Authorities closed streets and a subway stop near the Chinese government office and parked water cannon trucks and erected additional barriers nearby, fearing protesters might target the building. The office would have been the endpoint of the march that police did not allow. Instead, a group of hard-line protesters decided to take on police guarding government headquarters from behind large barriers that ring the building, keeping demonstrators at bay. The protests were initially triggered by a now-shelved extradition bill that many in Hong Kong see as an erosion of their rights and freedoms. Hong Kong is a semiautonomous Chinese territory.

(More Hong Kong stories.)

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