The ongoing riots in Hong Kong descended into greater chaos as protesters clashed with police in a crowded shopping mall.
Protesters launched major demonstrations throughout Hong Kong over the weekend. One such protest resulted in a brutal clash with police late Sunday in a crowded shopping mall located in Sha Tin. Footage reveals armored police officers striking demonstrators with batons after more than 10,000 people marched in the area.
The scene descended into total chaos shortly before 10 P.M. local time (1400 GMT), as police also used truncheons and pepper spray to suppress protesters. The targeted protesters retaliated by throwing objects such as umbrellas and plastic water bottles at police.
The protesters could be heard shouting “nasty police, shame on you!” and “Hong Kong, go!” when confronting a line of police in the streets.
Protesters had vowed to launch new riots on July 9th to demand that Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, immediately resign after she refused to fully revoke the controversial extradition bill. Lam’s refusal to strike down the bill in its entirety stoked fears that the legislation will later be revived.
The extradition bill would allow the Chinese territory of Hong Kong to deport criminal suspects to mainland China for trial. Many critics fear the prospect of facing judgement by Communist Party-controlled courts.
“I have almost immediately put a stop to the amendment exercise. But there are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries (about) whether the government will restart the process with the Legislative Council,” Lam stated. “So, I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The Bill is dead.”
Lam recognized the protesters’ increasing frustrations and urged that the extradition bill is not a result of her own “pride or arrogance”. She also agreed to meet with student protesters in public without preconditions and recognized that Hong Kong faced an extraordinary array of challenges. Protesters have issued a series of demands to Lam, including calls for an independent judge to head a commission of inquiry into police tactics. However, she has shied away from addressing this and other demands.
While Lam has reportedly sought to resign multiple times in recent weeks, Beijing insists that she remain in power, only inciting increased frustrations from protesters. Lam has complained about China’s “total failure” in handling the proposed extradition bill. (RELATED: Beijing Gives Warning To Hong Kong Protesters Over ‘Serious Illegal Act’)
“If our five demands are still not heard by Carrie Lam and her government, the Civil Human Rights Forum will continue to hold protests and assemblies,” spokeswoman Bonnie Leung recently warned reporters.
Students in Hong Kong have launched the largest riots that the country has seen in decades. This includes a record number of protest marches in June that hosted as many as two million participants.
Public protests in Hong Kong date back to its former subjugation under British colonial rule, with a series of bloody riots in the 1960s. While some citizens maintain traditional peaceful protests, many are adopting more violent methods.
Void of any clear leadership, activists have discussed strategy on the popular online forum LIHKG and often share plans through the encrypted messaging app Telegram.