HONG KONG: Thousands of Hong Kong protesters on Sunday sang the Star Spangled Banner and called on US President Donald Trump to “liberate” the Chinese-ruled city, before violence broke out in the latest in a three-month series of clashes and unrest, reports Reuters.
The protest started peacefully but fell into a now familiar pattern of barricades, window smashing and street fires, this time in the smartest banking and shopping district of the former British colony, as evening fell.
Police stood by earlier as protesters, under a sea of umbrellas against the sub-tropical sun, waved the Stars and Stripes and placards demanding democracy.
“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” they shouted before handing over petitions at the U.S. Consulate. “Resist Beijing, liberate Hong Kong.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday urged China to exercise restraint in Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Esper made his call in Paris as police in Hong Kong prevented protesters from blocking access to the airport but fired tear gas for a second night running in the densely populated district of Mong Kok.
Last month Trump suggested China should “humanely” settle the problem in Hong Kong before a trade deal is reached with Washington. Earlier Trump called the protests “riots” that were a matter for China to deal with. The vandalism started in the evening. Police have responded to violence over 14 weeks with water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Activists dug up bricks from pathways to break windows and set fires from cardboard boxes on the streets, building barricades with metal fencing.