Ninth protest rally in Hong Kong: Tear gas, throwing stones, clashes with police (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

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Ninth protest rally in Hong Kong: Tear gas, throwing stones, clashes with police (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Hong Kong is being rocked by a ninth weekend of anti-government protests, triggered by a controversial extradition bill. The police were forced to use tear gas as rowdy protesters pelted stones and torched objects.

Some 42,000 people showed up in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok shopping district for a massive rally on Saturday, according to police figures. The march organizers, however, reported a figure thrice that, claiming that at least 120,000 were in attendance.

The two months of turbulent demonstrations were triggered by a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions from the autonomous territory to China’s mainland. The legislation was suspended amid the protests, but they continue as the activists now demand a complete withdrawal of the bill.

Today’s protest was initially peaceful, but got heated by evening, as some groups of protesters tried to go and block major roads. The police had to intervene, urging the activists to disperse on their own or be evicted by force.

Things got particularly tense near a police station, located in the popular tourist district of Tsim Sha Tsui. The protesters lit fires outside the facility, pelted law enforcement with projectiles and “damaged multiple vehicles inside the station,” as the police put it.

The protesters appeared to be well-prepared for the clashes, sporting construction and motorbike helmets, respirators of all sorts and even makeshift shields.

The police, for its part, was not shy to use tear gas, that periodically engulfed the surroundings. Law enforcement was quite open about its intentions to use the irritant, as it displayed a large black banner with a warning from its compound.

Apart from the anti-government rally, a pro-police gathering was separately held at another location in Hong Kong. The organizers estimated the size of the crowd at the pro-police event as 90,000, while law enforcement itself gave a much lower figure of 26,000 at the peak of the event.




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