Hong Kong protests
LATEST UPDATE: December 14, 2019 - 12:24pm
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Police say five Hong Kong teenagers have been arrested in connection with the death of a man hit on the head by a brick during clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters last month.

The three males and two females aged 15 to 18 were arrested on Friday on suspicion of murder, rioting and wounding and had been detained pending further investigation, police say in a statement.

The incident occurred in mid-November as the pro-democracy movement was in its fifth month, with hardcore demonstrators engaged in a "blossom everywhere" campaign across the city to stretch police resources. — AFP

December 9, 2019

Hong Kongers have delivered a clarion call for change over the last fortnight with a landslide local election defeat for the government and more than one in ten hitting the streets peacefully on Sunday — but will Beijing listen?

Monday marks the sixth month anniversary of a movement that has upended the semi-autonomous Chinese hub's reputation for stability and blanketed its streets with unprecedented scenes of political violence.

But the last two weeks has seen a dramatic drop-off in clashes and vandalism — something the city's pro-Beijing leadership has insisted must be a precursor to any meaningful dialogue.

The question on many lips now is whether chief executive Carrie Lam — and Beijing — will take the opportunity to reach out before anger explodes once more.

"Ignoring our voices will only make the snowball get bigger and bigger and there will be consequences to that," Bonnie Leung, a prominent figure within the pro-democracy movement's more moderate wing, told AFP. — Agence France-Presse

December 8, 2019

Vast crowds of democracy protesters thronged Hong Kong's streets on Sunday in a forceful display of support for the movement on its six-month anniversary, as organizers warned the city's pro-Beijing leaders they had a "last chance" to end the political crisis.

Tens of thousands snaked their way through the financial hub's main island under crisp winter skies in what looked set to be the biggest turnout in months.

The rally, which received rare police permission, comes two weeks after pro-establishment parties got a drubbing in local elections, shattering government claims that a "silent majority" opposed the protests.

Many of those attending voiced anger that chief executive Carrie Lam and Beijing have ruled out any further concessions despite the landslide election defeat. — Agence France-Presse

December 2, 2019

Video messages featuring young Hong Kongers reciting what could be their last words before joining a protest are filling up the inbox of Glacier Kwong, a digital rights activist based in Germany.

Outside China's internet controls, this veteran of the pro-democracy movement works late into the night from her home in Hamburg, offering practical support for protesters on the other side of the world.

She helps find lawyers for those who have been arrested, offers advice on how they should protect themselves online and stores the encrypted sensitive documents they do not want China to see.

Lately, her correspondence has made for grim viewing.

In the last couple of weeks, as the demonstrations turned deadly, protesters have recorded messages for posterity in case something should happen to them.

"I don't feel comfortable keeping that information but I think at least the Hong Kong police or the Chinese government cannot get to me," Kwong tells AFP. — Agence France-Presse

December 1, 2019

Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets on Sunday for a series of marches and rallies after a rare period of calm in nearly six months of unrest.

Sunday's demonstrations come after brief skirmishes erupted overnight, with a man assaulted as he tried to clear barricades and police firing tear gas for the first time since November 24 district council elections that saw pro-democracy candidates win a landslide.

Three events are planned for Sunday, including a march to the US consulate to thank American leaders for legislation backing the city's protest movement.

An evening march will reiterate the movement's five demands, which include direct elections for the city's legislature and leadership, and a probe into alleged police brutality against demonstrators. -- Agence France-Presse

November 29, 2019

Low-cost carrier Hong Kong Airlines says it will delay salary payments to some staff, warning its business has been "severely affected" by the political unrest in the city.

Nearly six months of protests in the international finance hub have dealt its tourism sector a massive blow, and airlines serving the city have struggled.

"Hong Kong Airlines' business is severely affected by the social unrest in Hong Kong and a sustained weak travel demand," the carrier says in a statement. — AFP

November 29, 2019

Hong Kong police end their two-week siege of a university campus that became a battleground with pro-democracy protesters as activists vowed to hold fresh rallies and strikes in the coming days.

Renewed calls to hit the streets came after Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam refused further political concessions despite a landslide victory for pro-democracy parties in local elections last weekend.

Sunday's district council polls delivered a stinging rebuke to the financial hub's pro-Beijing establishment and undermined their argument that a silent majority were tired of the nearly six months of increasingly violent protests. — AFP

November 28, 2019

China's foreign ministry summons the US ambassador, urging Washington to refrain from applying a bill supporting Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement to "avoid further damage" to relations.

Chinese vice foreign minister Le Yucheng lodged a "strong protest" with Ambassador Terry Branstad and demanded that the United States "correct its mistakes and change course", the ministry says in a statement. — AFP

November 28, 2019

China warns that it is ready to take "firm countermeasures" against the United States after President Donald Trump signed a law supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

"The nature of this is extremely abominable, and harbours absolutely sinister intentions," the foreign ministry says in a statement, without specifying what measures Beijing might take.

— AFP

November 28, 2019

President Donald Trump signed a law supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, likely angering Beijing just as Washington was hoping to ease a US-China trade war.

Trump had seemed reluctant to sign the bill but with almost unanimous US congressional support for the measure, he had little political room to maneuver.

In a statement, Trump spoke of "respect" for Chinese President Xi Jinping and said he hoped the "leaders and representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences." — AFP

November 27, 2019

President Donald Trump offers lukewarm support to Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, saying he trusts President Xi Jinping to resolve the crisis, as US-Chinese trade talks enter their "final throes."

"We're with them," Trump says of the protesters who delivered a landslide victory for pro-democracy candidates in local elections and have battled police for weeks in street demonstrations.

But Trump immediately backpedalled, emphasizing his close ties to Xi and efforts to secure a long-delayed resolution to the trade war between the world's two biggest economies. — AFP

November 26, 2019

Officials at a Hong Kong university where police and protesters clashed violently a week ago say they had searched the entire campus and found just one remaining holdout in a sign the campus siege may be near an end.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) emerged as the epicentre of the territory's increasingly violent protest movement when clashes broke out on November 17 between police and protesters armed with bows, arrows and Molotov cocktails.

The standoff then quickly settled into a tense stalemate during which hundreds fled the campus -- some attempting to get out through sewer lines -- leaving a dwindling core of holdouts. — AFP

November 26, 2019

China has summoned the US ambassador to demand that United States scrap legislation backing Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, or "bear all the consequences", the foreign ministry says.

The Hong Kong bill awaiting President Donald Trump's signature supports human rights and democracy in the city, while threatening to revoke the territory's special economic status.

A separate measure bans the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment used by the security forces to suppress pro-democracy protests. — AFP

November 24, 2019

Hong Kong voters turned out in high numbers on Sunday for district council elections that the city's pro-democracy movement hopes will add pressure on the Beijing-backed government to hear their demands.

Hong Kong has been buffeted by months of mass rallies and violent clashes pitting police against protesters agitating for greater democracy in the Chinese territory.

The poll to choose 452 councillors handling community-level concerns like bus routes and garbage collection has traditionally generated little excitement, but takes on new importance with this year's unrest.

The councils have long been dominated by the city's pro-Beijing bloc, and voters seeking change said they hope that weakening the establishment's grip will give fresh momentum to the democracy movement. — Agence France-Presse

November 24, 2019

Hong Kong voted in district council elections Sunday in a ballot the city's pro-democracy movement hoped would send a message to the Beijing-backed government.

The run-up to Sunday's polls has seen a muting of major rallies and violent clashes between police and protesters, respite for a city battered by nearly six months of unprecedented political unrest.

Protest forums have urged citizens to vote and to pause acts of disruption in case the government pushes back the polls, which opened at 7:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) for 4.1 million registered voters.

Posts by pro-democracy users on the popular online board LiHKG urged supporters "not to jeopardise the election".

The district council polls normally stir little excitement, dominated by candidates allied to the China-backed government with a remit over everyday tasks such as rubbish collections and planning decisions. -- Agence France-Presse

November 23, 2019

US President Donald Trump says he had saved Hong Kong from being destroyed by persuading Chinese President Xi Jinping to hold off on sending in troops to crush its pro-democracy movement.

"If it weren't for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes," Trump says in a scattershot early morning interview with Fox News.

Trump's comments come as he mulls signing congressionally-approved legislation in support of the pro-democracy activists -- or bow to Beijing's threats of retaliation if the law is enacted. — AFP

November 23, 2019

Hong Kong medical workers express outrage over the arrests this week of a number of colleagues at a university campus occupied by pro-democracy protesters, and call on the government to allow them to do their jobs.

Darren Mann, a city doctor, says that he and other medical workers had volunteered Sunday to treat injuries at the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), which saw fiery clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters.

When police that night declared that anyone on the campus was subject to arrest for rioting, those detained included teams of medical workers -- even though many wore vests clearly identifying themselves as first-aid personnel. — AFP

November 22, 2019

Abuse, threats, protests and police cordons: first-time candidate Kwan Siu Lun says campaigning for this weekend's district elections in Hong Kong has been a dangerous business in the white heat of the city's political crisis.

Polling stations are due to open across Hong Kong on Sunday morning as the semi-autonomous city of 7.5 million votes for district councillors, in a ballot seen as a gauge of the popularity of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the pro-Beijing government.

In normal times, district elections are tame, hyper-local affairs dominated by candidates allied to the China-backed government with a remit over rubbish collections and planning decisions. — AFP

November 21, 2019

Hardline Hong Kong protesters hold their ground in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

Beijing did not immediately respond to the passage in Washington of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which voices strong support for the "democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people."

But China had already threatened retaliation if the bill is signed into law by President Donald Trump, and state-run media warned Thursday the legislation would not prevent Beijing from intervening forcefully to stop the "mess" gripping the financial hub. — AFP

November 20, 2019

China's foreign ministry summons a top US diplomat over the Senate's passing of a Hong Kong rights bill, warning of "strong" countermeasures against the United States should the legislation be signed into law.

Vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu called in acting charge d'affaires William Klein to lodge a "strong protest", the ministry says in a statement.

"We strongly urge the US side to immediately take effective measures to prevent this bill from becoming law" and stop meddling in China's internal affairs, the statement says.

"Otherwise, the Chinese side will take strong measures to resolutely counter it, and the US side must bear all the consequences," it says. — AFP

November 19, 2019

Arms covered in cling film and torches in hand as they drop into the sewers, clusters of pro-democracy protesters still inside a Hong Kong campus are plotting increasingly ingenious -- and desperate -- ways to escape a police siege.

Among the detritus of a scorched and graffiti-sprayed concourse at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, several plastic covers -- some with torches placed above them -- betray extraordinary underground escape plans.

Protesters have removed metal manholes, some making exploratory forays into the fetid tunnels, following rumours of successful exfiltrations from a campus ringed for three days by baton-wielding police determined to arrest them.

Pockets of protesters, some with thick bandages wrapped around their knees in anticipation of a long crawl to freedom, knot the holes discussing an unlikely -- and highly dangerous -- breakout.  -- Agence France-Presse

November 19, 2019

China insisted Tuesday it alone held the authority to rule on constitutional matters in Hong Kong, as it condemned a decision by the city's high court to overturn a ban on face masks worn by pro-democracy protesters.

The statement raised hackles among activists in Hong Kong after months of violent protests over concerns that Beijing is chipping away at the autonomy of the financial hub.

The ban on face-covering came into force in October, when the city's unelected pro-Beijing leader invoked colonial-era legislation for the first time in more than 50 years.

The move was seen as a watershed legal moment for the city since its 1997 return by Britain to China -- but has been largely symbolic. -- Agence France-Presse

November 17, 2019

A police officer was struck in the leg by an arrow shot by a Hong Kong protester on Sunday, the city's force says.

Graphic images showed the arrow embedded in the calf of the police officer, who was working at the scene of fierce clashes at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on the force's media liaison team. — Agence France-Presse

November 16, 2019

Government supporters took to the streets of downtown Hong Kong on Saturday after a chaotic working week saw hardcore pro-democracy activists cause widespread disruption in the city and stretch police resources.

A "Blossom Everywhere" campaign of roadblocks and vandalism across the semi-autonomous financial hub shut down large chunks of the train network and forced schools and shopping malls to close.

Students and protesters occupied several major universities around the city -- the first time a movement characterised by its fluidity and unpredictability has coagulated in fixed locations -- although as dusk fell on Friday, numbers had thinned out.

November 16, 2019

Organizers say Clockenflap, Hong Kong's biggest music festival, has been cancelled, the highest-profile event so far to fall victim to the increasingly violent political unrest engulfing the city.

British folk-rock sensations Mumford & Sons and American star Halsey were among the headliners for the festival this year, which was scheduled for November 22-24.

"Due to the escalation of the crisis this week, and therefore the uncertainty this creates for the coming weeks, Clockenflap 2019 will be cancelled," the organizers say in a statement. — AFP

November 13, 2019

Police and university officials say Mainland Chinese students have begun fleeing Hong Kong campuses over security fears as the city's seething political crisis saw some of its worst violence this week.

The most intense clashes on Tuesday occurred at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where pitched battles were fought with the police firing tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets and protesters throwing petrol bombs and bricks, paralysing the campus and the area around it.

A group of mainland students at CUHK attempted to depart the campus Wednesday morning over safety concerns but had to be shuttled away by boat because they were unable to leave via obstructed roads, the police say. — AFP

November 13, 2019

Pro-democracy protesters step up Wednesday a "blossom everywhere" campaign of road blocks and vandalism across Hong Kong that has crippled the international financial hub this week and ignited some of the worst violence in five months of unrest.

The new phase in the crisis, which has forced schools and shopping malls to close as well as the shutdown of large chunks of the vital train network, prompted police to warn on Tuesday the city was "on the brink of total collapse".

China, facing the biggest challenge to its rule of the territory since it was handed back by the British in 1997, has insisted it will not buckle to the pressure and warned of tougher security measures.

On Wednesday, commuters across many parts of the city woke to the increasingly familiar scenario of roads choked with bricks, bicycles, couches and other materials that had been laid out by the protesters overnight to block traffic.

Various lines on the subway, used by more than half of the city's 7.5 million people daily, were also suspended due to vandalism, forcing many workers to stay at home. — Agence France-Presse

November 13, 2019

Hong Kong awakes to a third straight day of chaos  following a night of intense battles between pro-democracy protesters and riot police on a university campus that saw some of the most violent scenes in more than five months of unrest.

Morning commuters were faced with closed metro stations, a suspended rail line and dozens of cancelled bus services a day after police warned that the rule of law in the territory was on "the brink of total collapse".

On Tuesday, the Chinese University of Hong Kong campus was the epicentre of the protests. The clashes raged well into the night, despite faculty and staff trying to mediate, with flames lighting up the night sky and dense clouds of acrid smoke. — AFP

November 12, 2019

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters clashed with riot police in the city's upmarket business district and on university campuses Tuesday, extending one of the most violent stretches of unrest seen in more than five months of political chaos.

The confrontations followed a particularly brutal day on Monday, when police shot a protester and a man was set on fire, prompting calls from western powers for compromise but further fury in China against the challenge to its rule.

"Hong Kong's rule of law has been pushed to the brink of total collapse," police spokesman Kong Wing-cheung told a press conference on Tuesday afternoon as he denounced the latest rounds of violence. -- Agence France-Presse

November 12, 2019

Hong Kong protesters strike the city's transport network for a second day running as western powers voiced concern over spiralling violence after police shot a young demonstrator and another man was set on fire.

The flare-up is the latest in the 24 straight weeks of increasingly violent rallies in Hong Kong, aimed at securing greater democratic freedoms from China.

Small bands of masked protesters blocked roads, threw objects onto rail tracks and held up subway trains, sparking cat-and-mouse clashes with riot police and renewed chaos throughout the day. — AFP

November 10, 2019

Hong Kong's police watchdog is currently unequipped to investigate the force's handling of months of pro-democracy protests, a panel of international experts appointed by the city's own government has found.

The international finance hub has been upended by five months of huge and increasingly violent rallies, but Beijing has refused to give in to most of the movement's demands.

One of the core demands, alongside fully free elections, is an independent inquiry into the police, who have been left to battle protesters for 24 consecutive weeks and are now loathed by large chunks of the deeply polarised population.

City leader Carrie Lam has repeatedly dismissed an independent probe, saying the current watchdog -- the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) -- is up to the job.

Protesters argue the IPCC lacks adequate investigatory powers, is stacked with pro-establishment figures and has previously been toothless when it comes to holding the police to account. — Agence France-Presse

November 9, 2019

Hong Kong police say they have arrested three pro-democracy lawmakers over a brawl in parliament, deepening the city's crisis a day after the death of a student sent tensions soaring.

The international finance hub has been upended by five months of huge and increasingly violent pro-democracy protests but Beijing has refused to give in to most of the movement's demands.

With the city bracing for a 24th consecutive weekend of rallies, police brought charges against three key pro-democracy lawmakers while four other lawmakers said they had been ordered to attend a police station later Saturday to be booked. — AFP

November 8, 2019

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters call for city-wide vigils to mourn a student who died from injuries sustained when he fell during clashes with police.

The calls for candle-lit vigils on Friday evening were made on online messaging boards used by the largely anonymous protest movement. — AFP

November 8, 2019

China has slammed radical protesters in Hong Kong as "mobsters" using violence to influence upcoming local elections, after a pro-Beijing lawmaker was injured in a stabbing.

The international finance hub has been shaken by five months of huge and increasingly violent protests calling for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability.

With Beijing and Hong Kong's unpopular leader Carrie Lam refusing to offer a political solution to the protesters' grievances, violence has spiralled on both sides of the ideological divide. — AFP

November 6, 2019

A firebrand pro-Beijing politician in Hong Kong has been wounded in a knife attack, the latest tit-for-tat political violence to break out in a city engulfed by months of pro-democracy protests. 

Video posted online showed the moment the attack took place. 

A man holding a bouquet of flowers approached Junius Ho on Wednesday morning as the politician was campaigning with party members in his constituency of Tuen Mun, a town on the outskirts of Hong Kong near the border with China.

The man gave Ho the flowers, asked to take a picture and then pulled a knife from his bag before striking his victim in the chest.

Ho and his aides quickly subdued the man who could be heard shouting in Cantonese: "Junius Ho, you scum!" — AFP

November 5, 2019

Hong Kong's economic woes show no sign of easing after a key measure of business confidence fell to its lowest level in more than a decade as the city reels from the global trade war and violent democracy protests.

The Purchasing Managers Index -- which measures the health of the private sector -- dropped to 39.3 in October, its worst reading since 2008 during the global financial crisis, heaping fresh misery on the unrest-plagued city.

The international finance has been plunged into a recession by the fallout from the China-US trade war and five months of seething pro-democracy protests that Beijing has taken a hardline approach against. — AFP

November 5, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed a "high degree of trust" in Hong Kong's unpopular leader Carrie Lam as the two met in Shanghai, state media says, days after the Communist Party agreed to change the way it picks or removes the city's top official.

Xi also called for "effective efforts" to be made in improving people's lives and having a dialogue with all sectors of society, according to the official Xinhua news agency following Monday's meeting at the China International Import Expo.

"Lam has led the SAR government to fully discharge its duties, strive to stabilize the situation and improve the social atmosphere, and has done a lot of hard work," the Chinese president said, according to Xinhua. — AFP

November 4, 2019

Chinese state-run media on Monday call for a "tougher line" on democracy protesters in Hong Kong, after a weekend of violence following Beijing's plans to tighten control over the semi-autonomous city.

Hardcore demonstrators in the financial hub smashed the windows of the official Xinhua news agency's regional bureau on Saturday, capping another weekend of unrest that also saw scores of arrests and a gruesome attack on a pro-democracy lawmaker.

"Intensifying violence in Hong Kong calls for tougher line to restore order," the state-run China Daily, an English-language mainland newspaper, says in an editorial.

The protesters "court the indulgence extended to them by friendly local and Western media outlets, while seeking to silence those trying to put the protests in the spotlight of truth," the daily said.

"They are doomed to fail simply because their violence will encounter the full weight of the law." — Agence France-Presse

November 3, 2019

Hong Kong police fire tear gas and water cannon as thousands of democracy protesters defied authorities in another unsanctioned march after Beijing vowed to tighten control over the restless city.

Commercial districts on the main island turn into a battleground as crowds of black-clad protesters, many wearing face masks despite a recent ban, clashed for hours with riot police.

Hardcore protesters hurl bricks and petrol bombs and vandalised multiple subway stations and businesses perceived to be pro-China -- including the office of China's state-run Xinhua news agency, which had its windows smashed. — AFP

November 2, 2019

Thousands of protesters hit the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday, defying police with an unsanctioned march as the democracy movement shows no signs of abating after nearly five months.

Crowds of black-clad protesters, many wearing face masks despite a recent ban, filled Causeway Bay, a popular shopping district, as tensions built with riot police who had flooded the area.

The march came a day after China gave its latest warning that it would not tolerate any challenge to Hong Kong's governing system and planned to boost patriotic education in the city, which has seen 22 consecutive weekends of youth-led protests. 

Hong Kong has been upended by the huge, often violent, pro-democracy protests which have battered the financial hub's reputation for stability and helped plunge the city into recession.

Beijing has shown no willingness to meet protester demands for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability -- and activists show no sign of leaving the streets as violence escalates on both sides. -- Agence France-Presse

October 29, 2019

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong is being barred from standing in an upcoming local election, after months of huge and frequently violent protests in the city.

Wong, one of the most prominent figures in the otherwise leaderless and faceless movement, accused the government of "political screening" after an election officer ruled his nomination for the November poll invalid. 

"I strongly condemn the government for conducting political screening and censorship, depriving me of my political rights," he says in a statement on his Facebook page. — AFP

October 26, 2019

A Hong Kong court has banned people from publishing a wide range of personal details about police officers and their families, including photos, in a bid to halt "doxxing" by pro-democracy protesters.

The temporary injunction, uploaded on government websites overnight, was criticised by some on Saturday for its broad wording and for further shielding the identity of officers as they clash with protesters.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city has been battered by nearly five months of seething pro-democracy rallies in which police and protesters have fought increasingly violent battles.

The police force says many of its officers have had personal details leaked online -- known as "doxxing" -- and family members harassed as a result. — AFP

October 21, 2019

Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leader and the city's police chief visited a mosque on Monday that was struck with blue dye from a water cannon during the latest bout of violent protests.

The entrance to the Kowloon Mosque, the international hub's largest, was sprayed by a water cannon truck on Sunday, causing anger among both local Muslims and protesters.

Police use the dye — often mixed with an irritant — as a way to identify protesters but it has frequently left streets and buildings daubed in a garish blue.

Video footage shot Sunday showed the truck pulling up outside the building during confrontations with protesters, pausing and then spraying around half a dozen journalists and bystanders who were gathered on the street outside.

The group, who did not appear to be protesters, was struck twice, with much of the bright blue jet painting the mosque's entrance and steps.

Police released a statement on Sunday saying the mosque was hit by mistake but did not apologize. — Agence France-Presse

October 20, 2019

Large crowds of Hong Kongers defy a police ban and began an illegal march on Sunday, their numbers swollen by anger over the recent stabbing and beating of two pro-democracy protesters.

Authorities had forbidden the march in Tsim Sha Tsui, a densely packed shopping district filled with luxury boutiques and hotels, citing public safety and previous violence from hardcore protesters.

But thousands joined the unsanctioned rally regardless as the movement tries to keep up pressure on the city's pro-Beijing leaders after nearly five months of rallies and political unrest. -- Agence France-Presse

October 19, 2019

Supporters of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement make their presence felt as the Brooklyn Nets played their first game in New York since they were caught in the middle of the NBA's rift with China.

Tensions between Beijing and the American basketball league erupted this month after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image in support of the demonstrations that have rocked the financial hub for months. 

China has portrayed the protesters as violent separatists and the backlash against Morey's comments has cast a cloud over the NBA's lucrative broadcasting, merchandising and sponsorship interests in the country, where it has legions of fans. — AFP

October 18, 2019

China denies that it demanded that the NBA fire a Houston Rockets executive over a tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey ignited a firestorm earlier this month with a tweeted image captioned "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

It came right before the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets arrived in China for what proved to be a tense two-game exhibition tour, with broadcasters refusing to air the games and local sponsors cutting ties with the NBA. — AFP

October 18, 2019

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says China demanded that a Houston Rockets executive be sacked for supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, adding that the league's row with Beijing had "substantial" financial consequences.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey ignited a firestorm earlier this month with a tweeted image captioned "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

It came right before the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets arrived in China for what proved to be a tense two-game exhibition tour, with broadcasters there refusing to air the games, public protests against Morey's comments and local sponsors cutting ties with the NBA. — AFP

October 10, 2019

Apple has removed a Hong Kong map application used by pro-democracy protesters, saying it endangered police, after China warned the US tech giant to drop the app.

According to a statement published by the makers of HKmap.live, Apple says "your app has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong".

The financial hub has been gripped by protests for four months, and there have been regular clashes between hardcore demonstrators and police. — AFP

October 9, 2019

China's state media accuses Apple of supporting pro-democracy protesters, warning the US tech giant would suffer consequences for its "unwise and reckless" decision, in an echo of campaigns against other Western firms.

An opinion piece in the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, highlights a transport app available on Apple's store that it alleged helped protesters identify police in Hong Kong.  

"Apple's approval for the app obviously helps rioters," the article says. — AFP

"Does this mean Apple intended to be an accomplice to the rioters?"

October 8, 2019

The NBA is "not apologising" for a tweet from a Houston Rockets executive supporting Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests, the organisation's commissioner says, despite a backlash in China.

"We are not apologising for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression," NBA chief Adam Silver says, referring to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

"I regret, again having communicated directly with many friends in China, that so many people are upset, including millions and millions of our fans," Silver adds. — AFP

October 8, 2019

Hong Kong's under-fire leader Carrie Lam says she would not rule out accepting help from mainland China in tackling increasingly violent pro-democracy protests. 

The financial hub has been gripped by four months of rallies, and last weekend saw much of the city grind to a halt as masked demonstrators took to the streets in defiance of a controversial ban on face coverings.

Lam's decision last Friday to invoke colonial-era emergency powers -- not used for half a century -- to impose the ban sparked some of the most violent scenes since the crisis began, as hardcore protesters trashed dozens of subway stations, vandalised shops with mainland China ties, built fires and blocked roads. — AFP

October 5, 2019

Hong Kong's embattled leader on Saturday condemns pro-democracy protesters who trashed subway stations and shops the night before as "rioters" who had left much of the strife-torn city frightened and paralyzed.

"The extreme actions of rioters created a very dark night for Hong Kong and made Hong Kong society semi-paralyzed today," chief executive Carrie Lam says in a video statement.

"Everyone is very worried and concerned, or even scared.

"Extremely terrifying violence occurred in all districts in Hong Kong," she adds. "The extreme actions done by masked rioters were shocking".-- Agence France-Presse

October 5, 2019

Strife-torn Hong Kong has been dropped from the 2019-20 Forumula E season as the city is battered by four months of violent pro-democracy protests that show no sign of abating.

Organizers released next season's calendar late Friday with the semi-autonomous city noticeably absent for the first time since 2016.

The release made no mention of why Hong Kong had been dropped.

But the South China Morning Post said organizers feared they could not risk putting on the event given the major protests now coursing through the city.

"The recent social unrest put a big question mark on the possibility of starting the event in March," Edward Yu, governor of the Hong Kong Automobile Association, is quoted as saying.

"If something were to happen on the day of the event because of social unrest, and they cannot start, it will be a big loss," he adds. -- Agence France-Presse

October 5, 2019

Hong Kong's entire mass transit rail system was suspended on Saturday after a night of violence sparked by a ban on pro-democracy protesters wearing face masks, as the government invoked emergency powers not used in more than half a century.

The ban was aimed at quelling nearly four months of unrest but instead sparked widespread clashes and vows of defiance, with a 14-year-old boy reportedly shot and wounded.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she made the order under the Emergency Regulations Ordinances -- a sweeping colonial-era provision that allows her to bypass the legislature and make any law during a time of emergency or public danger.

Protests immediately broke out across Hong Kong, initially with large crowds of office workers blocking roads in the heart of the commercial district. -- Agence France-Presse

October 4, 2019

Hong Kong's leader announces a ban on protesters wearing face masks, invoking colonial-era emergency powers for the first time in 52 years, in a bid to quell months of violent anti-government unrest. 

Chief executive Carrie Lam says she had made the order under the Emergency Regulations Ordinances, a sweeping provision that grants her the ability to make any law during a time of emergency or public danger.

"We believe that the new law will create a deterrent effect against masked violent protesters and rioters, and will assist the police in its law enforcement," Lam says. — AFP

October 3, 2019

He may have become a far-right internet meme in the West, but Pepe the Frog's image is being rehabilitated in Hong Kong where democracy protesters have embraced him as an irreverent symbol of their resistance.

Throughout the more than 100 days of protests rocking the international finance hub, banners featuring the cartoon frog and stuffed toys of the amphibian have become ubiquitous, providing much-needed moments of levity as the violence escalates.

Pepe fervour reached new heights on Monday night when hundreds of demonstrators -- many festooned with stickers or holding cuddly toys -- formed a human chain along the city's harbourfront, chanting slogans and singing protest songs.

Some of the Pepe toys brought by the largely young participants were decked in the yellow hard hats and gas masks worn by protesters in their clashes with police.

"In the United States it's a hate symbol, but now it is reborn in Hong Kong as a symbol of love and freedom," a 21 year-old animation student, who gave her name as Phoenix, told AFP.

"Even in a really tough situation, we still want to feel hope and be happy. If we can maintain our minds in a positive way, then maybe we can keep protesting and find a way to win," she added. -- Agence France-Presse

October 1, 2019

The European Union calls for "de-escalation and restraint" in Hong Kong after a police officer shot a demonstrator during a flare-up in the political protests roiling the city.

"In light of the continuing unrest and violence in Hong Kong, the European Union continues to stress that dialogue, de-escalation and restraint are the only way forward," EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic tells reporters.

— AFP

September 29, 2019

More than 1,000 people rallied in central Sydney in support of Hong Kong protesters Sunday, kicking off a day of planned "anti-totalitarianism" demonstrations globally.

In one of the largest solidarity marches in the Australian city since Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement began in March, black-clad participants took to the streets chanting "Add oil," a protest slogan denoting encouragement.

Some protesters held signs that read "Save Hong Kong" and "Stop tyranny," while others carried yellow umbrellas or handed out paper cranes in scenes that played out in major cities across the country Sunday. Pro-China supporters stayed away, avoiding a repeat of the tense scenes that flared last month when opposing rallies held on the same day led to confrontations between the two sides. — AFP

September 22, 2019

Hong Kong is a "police state" where officers — once dubbed "Asia's finest" — are conducting abuses in the service of the city's pro-Beijing leadership, prominent voices in the global financial hub's weeks-long protest movement tell AFP.

The comments came as riot police and demonstrators in Hong Kong fought brief skirmishes Saturday near the Chinese border. 

They were the latest clashes during more than three months of demonstrations to protest stuttering freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.

"Within these three-and-a-half months we have seen the police in Hong Kong getting totally out of control," activist and pop star Denise Ho says in an interview with AFP.

— AFP

September 20, 2019

Amnesty International accuses Hong Kong police of using excessive force against pro-democracy protesters, in some cases amounting to torture, criticising a "disturbing pattern of reckless and unlawful tactics".

In a report based on interviews with nearly two dozen activists, most of whom were hospitalised after their arrests, the global rights watchdog says the city's police officers routinely went beyond the level of force allowed by local law and international standards.

"In an apparent thirst for retaliation, Hong Kong's security forces have engaged in a disturbing pattern of reckless and unlawful tactics against people during the protests," Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International, says. — AFP

September 15, 2019

Pro-democracy protesters rally outside Britain's consulate in Hong Kong, demanding London do more to protect its former colonial subjects and ramp up pressure on Beijing over sliding freedoms.

Hundreds of demonstrators sang "God Save the Queen" and "Rule Britannia" outside the consulate, waving the Union Jack as well as Hong Kong's colonial-era flags.

The once-stable international hub has been convulsed by weeks of huge, sometimes violent rallies calling for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability. The movement is the biggest challenge to China's rule since the city was handed back by Britain in 1997 and shows no sign of ending, with local leaders and Beijing taking a hard line.

Under a deal signed with Britain ahead of the city's 1997 handover to China, Hong Kong is allowed to keep its unique freedoms for 50 years. — AFP

September 14, 2019

A Hong Kong activist urges US President Donald Trump to include a "human rights clause" in any trade agreement with China, and seeks Washington's backing for the city's democracy movement.

Joshua Wong, 22, calls on American politicians to pass a bill expressing support for the pro-democracy campaign during a speaking engagement in New York, a few hours after arriving in the United States.

"It's significant to add a human rights clause in the trade negotiations and put Hong Kong protests under the agenda of the trade negotiations," Wong says. — AFP

September 13, 2019

At the back of her tiny shop, Hong Kong baker Naomi Suen pulls out a fresh tray of mooncakes — each one sporting popular slogans from recent pro-democracy protests.

The cakes are a contemporary political twist on a gift traditionally given during the annual mid-autumn festival at a time when Hong Kong is convulsing with unprecedented unrest.

Bakeries at this time of year are packed with boxes of the dense pastries, commonly filled with a heavy sweet concoction of lotus seed and egg yolks.

The tops often have intricate Chinese character designs detailing the brand or the filling inside.

But Suen's mooncakes have different kinds of messages printed on them such as "Hong Kong People", "No withdrawal, no dispersal" and "Be Water".

All are chants heard on Hong Kong's streets in the last three months, as huge crowds come out to protest eroding freedoms after two decades of rule by Beijing. 

The last phrase — "Be Water" — is a reference to local kung fu legend Bruce Lee's philosophy of being unpredictable, a style the leaderless protest has adopted with relish during its frequent street battles with the police. — Agence France-Presse

September 13, 2019

One of Hong Kong's most prestigious sporting tournaments on Friday became the latest victim of the huge protests convulsing the city as a growing roster of events and entertainment acts pull out of the financial hub.

Organizers of the WTA Hong Kong Open women's tennis tournament said they were postponing next month's competition because of the "present situation" after months of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

"After extensive discussions with our key stakeholders, we conclude that a smooth running of the tournament can be better assured at a later time," the Hong Kong Tennis Association says in a statement.

Hong Kong's protests were triggered by alarm over a controversial bill, since scrapped, to allow extraditions to mainland China.

Millions of people have taken part in demonstrations over the last three months which have morphed into calls for democracy and complaints against the erosion of freedoms under Beijing's rule. — Agence France-Presse

September 10, 2019

Hong Kong's secondary schools have become the latest ideological battleground for pro-democracy protesters with thousands of students taking part in human chain rallies since the new academic year kicked off.

These human chain demonstrations in which pupils form long lines and chant slogans, are the latest way the city's youth have chosen to voice support for pro-democracy protests that have plunged the financial hub into crisis. — AFP

September 8, 2019

Pro-democracy activists rally outside the United States consulate in Hong Kong as they try to ramp up international pressure on Beijing following three months of huge and sometimes violent protests.

Millions have taken to Hong Kong's streets over the last 14 weeks in the biggest challenge to China's rule since the city's handover from Britain in 1997. The protests were ignited by a now-scrapped plan to allow extraditions to the authoritarian mainland, seen by opponents as the latest move by Beijing to chip away at the international finance hub's unique freedoms.

But after Beijing and city leaders took a hard line the movement snowballed into a broader campaign calling for greater democracy, police accountability and an amnesty for those arrested. — AFP

September 7, 2019

Riot police fan out across Hong Kong in a bid to thwart plans by pro-democracy protesters to target the airport in the movement's first mass mobilisation since the city's leader made a surprise concession earlier this week.

Millions of pro-democracy supporters have taken to Hong Kong's streets for the past three months in the biggest challenge to China's rule since the city's handover from Britain in 1997. — AFP

September 6, 2019

According to a spokesperson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong "must be guaranteed" after meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.

Hong Kong has been plunged into months of pro-democracy protests, and ahead of her three-day visit to China this week protestors in the semi-autonomous city appealed to the German chancellor to support them in her meetings with China's leadership.

In a tweet Friday, spokesman Steffen Seibert quoted Merkel as saying: "The rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong must be guaranteed. Solutions can only be found in dialogue; do everything possible to prevent violence". — AFP

September 5, 2019

Hong Kong's leader urges pro-democracy protesters to end their demonstrations after her surprise decision to bow to one of their key demands was condemned as too little, too late.

Carrie Lam, the city's pro-Beijing chief executive, surprised many when after three months of rallies she suddenly announced she was scrapping a hugely unpopular extradition law.

Millions of people have taken to Hong Kong's streets since June in the biggest challenge to China's rule of semi-autonomous Hong Kong since its handover from the British in 1997. — AFP

September 2, 2019

The Communist Party of the Philippines denounce violence by the Hong Kong police against protesters, saying this "manifests the fascist orientation of the Hongkong administration under the direction of the Chinese government."

It says in a statement that the violence used against protesters and bystanders underscore that the protests and rallies, initially against a bill to allow extradition of crime suspects to China on a case-to-case basis, are airing legitimate grivances.

"Indeed, there are parallelisms between the struggles of the Filipino people and Chinese people as they are both confronted with similar authoritarian rulers who make no qualms in using state power to advance their aims. They can draw strength from each others' struggles."

August 30, 2019

Property firms suffer hefty losses in Hong Kong as the arrest of leading pro-democracy figures wiped out an early rally in the Hang Seng Index, fuelled by fears of fresh violence in the city.

News of the arrests overshadowed a broad advance across other Asian markets that came after China said it would not retaliate against the latest US tariffs, which raised hopes for an easing of trade tensions between the economic giants.

Police on Friday held Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow a day before another planned mass rally on the fifth anniversary of Beijing's rejection of a call for universal suffrage in the city, which sparked the Umbrella Movement in 2014. — AFP

August 30, 2019

Cathay Pacific has warned staff they risk being sacked if they join a planned Hong Kong strike, as the airline intensifies its crackdown on employee support for the rolling pro-democracy protests.

Hong Kong's flagship carrier, which has 27,000 staff in the city, has been accused of bowing to political pressure from China, whose aviation regulator has banned airline staff who have supported the demonstrations from working on flights through its airspace. 

In an internal memo to staff, a Cathay director, Tom Owen, says participating in a strike planned for Monday and Tuesday could constitute a breach of contract. — AFP

August 30, 2019

Cops arrest prominent Hong Kong democracy activists in a dragnet that came as protesters planned to rally this weekend in defiance of a police ban.

Hong Kong has been locked in a three months of political crisis, with increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters that have prompted an escalating public relations campaign from Beijing.

Protesters planned yet another mass rally on Saturday -- the fifth anniversary of Beijing's rejection of a call for universal suffrage in the semi-autonomous city, a decision that sparked the 79-day Umbrella Movement in 2014. — AFP

August 29, 2019

China's military says fresh troops had arrived in Hong Kong as part of a routine rotation, as the financial hub prepares for fresh political rallies against Beijing's tightening grip on the city.

State media published a video of armoured personnel carriers and trucks driving across the Hong Kong border in the border. 

"The Hong Kong Garrison of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on Thursday morning completed the 22nd rotation since it began garrisoning Hong Kong in 1997," Xinhua news agency reports. — AFP

August 29, 2019

Hong Kong stocks extended losses in the morning session Thursday owing to concerns about the lack of developments in the China-US trade talks.

The Hang Seng Index shed 0.36 percent, or 91.22 points, to 25,524.26 by lunch. — Agence France-Presse

August 29, 2019

A fortnight ago Cathay Pacific said it "wouldn't dream" of muzzling the views of its 27,000 Hong Kong staff, but after the dismissal of several pro-democracy supporters among its workforce under Chinese pressure, employees say this is exactly what has happened.

Hong Kong, a financial center that was once a byword for stability and prosperity, has been plunged into an unprecedented crisis by anti-government protests, framed by fears over growing Chinese influence.

The chaos put airline Cathay in a bind over whether to allow its staff to take part in — or voice support for — the massive demonstrations, or risk losing its China-facing business.

In mid-August, the carrier's position seemed unequivocal and in line with the city's culture of free speech.

"We employ 27,000 different staff in Hong Kong... we have virtually every opinion on every issue amongst our staff," Chairman John Slosar told reporters. 

"We certainly wouldn't dream of telling them what they have to think about something."

But the company's tune soon changed as a move by China's aviation regulator to bar staff supporting protests from working on flights to the mainland or through Chinese airspace began to bite. — Agence France-Presse

August 28, 2019

Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong are worried that their employers might prevent them from taking their days off because of continuing protests there, a workers' group says.

Protests against a shelved bill allowing case-to-case extradition to China have been going on since June and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said earlier this month that employers there have imposed stricter curfew hours for their domestic workers.

"Most of the domestic workers have curfew during their day off. Since the riots usually occur in the evening, workers are also advised to stay at home by the end of their working hours," Bello said in an August 15 report by The STAR

"The Filipino Migrant Workers Union respects the rights of HongKongers to defend their autonomy under the One Country Two Systems. However, the group is apprehensive that some employers are taking advantage of the situation by preventing their migrant domestic worker [from taking] their weekly rest day," FMWU Hong Kong said in an emailed statement.

Employers are contractually and legally required to grant their household workers one rest day a week.

Bello previously said there is no penalty for those who will violate the curfew, but Filipino workers are still advised to follow these for their own protection.

"It is the worker who is advised not to go out and the employers can't do anything if they will not comply. But if something happens to them they can't blame the employer and our labor officers," Bello said then.

August 24, 2019

Riot police and protesters clash Saturday afternoon as a stand-off outside a police station descended into violence.

Officers charge with batons out, detaining at least one protester. The demonstrators retaliate with a barrage of bottles and bamboo poles, as tear gas and pepper spray was fired to disperse them. — AFP

August 19, 2019

US President Donald Trump on Sunday warned China that carrying out a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown on Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters would harm trade talks between the two countries.

"I think it'd be very hard to deal if they do violence, I mean, if it's another Tiananmen Square," Trump told reporters in New Jersey. "I think it's a very hard thing to do if there's violence."

Hong Kong has been roiled by protests for more than two months and on Sunday hundreds of thousands of democracy activists had marched peacefully in the city despite rising unrest and stark warnings from Beijing.

There have been increasingly stark warnings from Beijing over the protests, and state media has run images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen. — Agence France-Presse

August 18, 2019

Hong Kong democracy activists gather for a major rally to show the city's leaders their protest movement still attracts wide public support despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.

Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles with riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability. 

Communist-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone towards the protesters, decrying the "terrorist-like" actions of a violent hardcore minority among the demonstrators.

Despite the near-nightly clashes with police, the movement has won few concessions from Beijing or the city's unelected leadership. — AFP

August 17, 2019

Hong Kong democracy activists kick off a weekend of fresh protests in a major test for the movement following criticism over an airport protest earlier this week -- and as concerns mount over Beijing's next move.

Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the international finance hub into crisis, with the communist-ruled mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions "terrorist-like".

Activists are billing two planned rallies on Saturday and Sunday as a way to show Beijing and the city's unelected leaders that their movement still enjoys broad public support, despite increasingly violent tactics deployed by a minority of hardcore protesters that have cast a shadow. — AFP

August 17, 2019

Hundreds of pro-China demonstrators march through Sydney Saturday in response to a growing number of rallies in support of the Hong Kong democracy protests as tensions between the two groups increasingly flare in Australia.

They march through the city chanting "One China", waving the Chinese flag and holding placards saying "Stop riots end violence in Hong Kong".

"There has been a lot of violence and violent protests in Hong Kong," Sydney-based lawyer and rally organiser who asked only to be called Zhao says. "And Hong Kong people have suffered from that and we want to voice our call for peace and order in Hong Kong." — AFP

August 16, 2019

Hong Kong's police are confident they have the resources to continue battling pro-democracy protesters, even if violence escalates further, pouring cold water on concerns that the authoritarian mainland might need to intervene.

Three senior commanders say they were unaware of any plans by China to bolster their own ranks with mainland troops or police officers, even if the political chaos worsens. 

And they admit that any move to do so would place the city's police force in uncharted waters. — AFP

August 16, 2019

Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement faces a major test this weekend as it tries to muster another huge crowd following criticism over a recent violent airport protest and as concerns mount over Beijing's next move.

Ten weeks of protests have plunged the international finance hub into crisis with the communist mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions "terrorist-like".

Chinese state media have put out images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, while the United States has warned Beijing against sending in troops, a move many analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China. — AFP

August 15, 2019

Donald Trump urges China to "humanely" resolve the violent stand-off with pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, as concerns grow that Beijing is considering direct intervention in the crisis.

In a series of tweets, the US president linked a possible trade deal with Beijing to a peaceful resolution to the political unrest that has roiled the semi-autonomous Chinese city for 10 weeks.

Washington has become increasingly alarmed by the build-up of Chinese security forces on the border with Hong Kong as the protests show no signs of abating and Beijing intensifies its drumbeat of intimidation against a movement pushing democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms. — AFP

August 15, 2019

Donald Trump urges China to "humanely" resolve the violent stand-off with pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, as concerns grow that Beijing is considering direct intervention in the crisis.

In a series of tweets, the US president linked a possible trade deal with Beijing to a peaceful resolution to the political unrest that has roiled the semi-autonomous Chinese city for 10 weeks.

Washington has become increasingly alarmed by the build-up of Chinese security forces on the border with Hong Kong as the protests show no signs of abating and Beijing intensifies its drumbeat of intimidation against a movement pushing democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms. — AFP

August 14, 2019

Flights were departing Hong Kong airport largely on schedule on Wednesday morning, a day after pro-democracy protesters caused chaos with a disruptive sit-in that paralysed the busy transport hub.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Tuesday after demonstrators blockaded two terminals, the second consecutive day the airport has been targeted in the latest escalation of a 10-week political crisis that has gripped the international finance hub.

Protesters physically blocked travellers from accessing flights throughout the afternoon, before battling with riot police outside the terminal later that evening and turning on two people they accused of being spies or undercover police.

But by the early hours of Wednesday morning the vast majority of protesters had left the building and flights began taking off on a more regular basis. — Agence France-Presse

August 13, 2019

Flights resume Tuesday at Hong Kong airport a day after a massive pro-democracy rally there forced the shutdown of the busy international transport hub.

Early Tuesday, passengers with luggage were being checked in at the departures hall and information boards showed several flights were already boarding or about to depart.

The abrupt shutdown of one of the world's busiest hubs came after thousands of black-clad demonstrators flooded the airport for a peaceful rally.

It was a dramatic escalation of a 10-week crisis that has been the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of Hong Kong since the 1997 British handover.

The protests have infuriated Beijing, which described some of the violent demonstrations as "terrorism".

Washington overnight urged all sides to refrain from violence, as the crisis sparked by a bill to allow extradition to mainland China continues with no apparent end in sight. — Agence France-Presse

August 12, 2019

More than 5,000 protesters gathered at Hong Kong airport on Monday, police say, as authorities cancelled all the day's remaining flights in and out of the busy international transport hub.

"The information I got before we came in was that in the airport passenger terminal building there are over 5,000 protesters," says Kong Wing-cheung, senior superintendent of the police public relations branch, at a press conference.

Kong said airport authorities had allowed demonstrators to gather in the arrivals halls — although the protest was not granted a permit from police — but accused the activists of blocking departures.

"Some of the protesters had gone into the departures hall, causing some passengers to be unable to enter the restricted area to exercise their personal freedom, which is to board their flight," he says. — Agence France-Presse

August 12, 2019

China on Monday slams violent protesters in Hong Kong who had thrown petrol bombs at police officers and linked them to "terrorism", as Beijing ramps up its rhetoric against pro-democracy protests in the financial hub.

"Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging," said Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

"This wantonly tramples on Hong Kong's rule of law and social order,” he says at a press briefing in Beijing. 

Meanwhile, Hong Kong airport authorities say Monday that they are cancelling departing and arriving flights at the major travel hub after thousands of protesters entered the arrivals halls to stage a demonstration.

"Other than the departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights that are already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been cancelled for the rest of today," the airport authority says. — Agence France-Presse

August 12, 2019

While China might be exploiting fears of a bloody "Tiananmen" crackdown on Hong Kong's protest movement, analysts say the potentially catastrophic economic and political consequences will deter Beijing from any overt boots-on-the ground intervention.

As the clashes between pro-democracy demonstrators and police in the former British colony have grown increasingly violent, Beijing's condemnation has become more ominous, with warnings that those who play with fire will "perish by it".

At the same time, the military garrison maintained by People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong released a video showing an anti-riot drill in which soldiers with assault rifles, armoured personnel carriers and water cannons disperse a crowd of protesters. — Agence France-Presse

August 11, 2019

Cathay Pacific says it will comply with new rules from China banning staff who support Hong Kong's protesters from working on flights to the mainland or through its airspace.

The Hong Kong carrier also confirms it had suspended a pilot charged with rioting and fired two ground staff for misconduct apparently related to the protest movement that has engulfed the city.

China's aviation regulator had ordered the airline to hand over identifying information for staff on mainland-bound flights starting Sunday.

It warned that staff deemed to support Hong Kong's "illegal protests" were banned from flights landing in mainland China or traveling through its airspace.

August 10, 2019

Several hundred families take to the streets in Hong Kong to show support for pro-democracy protests that are now in their third month.

The colourful and calm atmosphere at the rally was a far cry from the increasingly violent confrontations that have marked recent demonstrations by activists calling for greater freedoms in the city.

A leaflet featuring an alternative alphabet was circulated, offering "demonstration" for the letter D, "angry" for A and "protest" for P. — AFP

August 10, 2019

The United States has demanded that Beijing-backed news outlets stop sharing "dangerous" reports after a newspaper revealed personal information about an American diplomat in Hong Kong who met with pro-democracy activists.

"Official Chinese media reports on our diplomat in Hong Kong have gone from irresponsible to dangerous. This must stop," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus has posted on Twitter.

The Hong Kong-based, pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao reported that the political unit chief of the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, Julie Eadeh, had met with members of the political party Demosisto -- including prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong.

It shared details on Eadeh's career as well as her family members' names.

Beijing has increasingly pitched the anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong as funded by the West, but has provided little evidence beyond supportive statements from some Western politicians. — AFP

August 9, 2019

Hundreds of pro-democracy activists, some wearing face masks and helmets, stage a sit-in at Hong Kong's airport hoping to win support from international visitors for their movement.

"No rioters, only tyranny," the demonstrators chant as they began a three-day action -- the latest in a string of protests that have rocked the international financial hub for more than two months.

Activists, some dressed in the movement's signature black, sit on the floor in the airport's arrivals hall and hold up signs in Chinese and English condemning police violence. — AFP

August 8, 2019

China demands that US diplomats based in Hong Kong "stop interfering" in the city's affairs, after reports that they met with pro-democracy activists.

The foreign ministry says it had expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with US authorities, citing local media reports that a US official from Hong Kong's US consulate general had met with a local "independence group."

In a statement Thursday, the ministry urges the diplomatic office to "immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters" and "stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs immediately." — AFP

August 7, 2019

Thousands of Chinese riot police staged a drill just across the border from Hong Kong, in what appeared to be a thinly veiled warning from Beijing about its ability to end two months of protests in the global financial hub.

The exercise, which took place Tuesday in Shenzhen — a city in southern China that borders the semi-autonomous city — instantly attracted online attention given the close resemblance between the drill and the ongoing clashes in adjacent Hong Kong.

The footage showed squads of police facing down "protesters" dressed in construction hats and facemasks — reminiscent of demonstrators in Hong Kong. As the crowd attacked police with long, wooden poles, officers pushed back with riot shields and deployed tear gas. — AFP

August 5, 2019

Peak-hour morning train travel and international flights in Hong Kong were thrown into chaos on Monday as pro-democracy protesters launched an attempted city-wide strike to ramp up pressure on the financial hub's embattled leaders. 

Activists descended on key subway stations during the morning rush hour, deliberately keeping open doors to stop trains departing, causing long queues and triggering occasional scuffles between angry commuters and protesters.

More than 100 flights at the city's airport -- one of the world's busiest -- were also listed as cancelled on Monday morning after aviation authorities warned passengers about potential disruptions. -- Agence France-Presse

August 4, 2019

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are set to defy Chinese authorities with another two major rallies later, a day after police fired tear gas to disperse them in one of the city's most renowned tourist districts.

Tsim Sha Tsui, a harbourside district known for its luxury malls and hotels, was filled with acrid plumes of tear gas on Saturday night as small groups of hardcore protesters battled police in streets usually brimming with tourists and shoppers.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has seen two months of protests and clashes triggered by opposition to a planned extradition law that quickly evolved into a wider movement for democratic reforms.

August 3, 2019

Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong plan to hold a mass rally later Saturday as they face down increasingly stern warnings from China over weeks-long unrest that has plunged the city into crisis.

The semi-autonomous southern Chinese financial hub has seen two months of protests and clashes triggered by opposition to a planned extradition law that quickly evolved into a wider movement for democratic reforms.

Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing this week signalled a hardening stance, including with the arrests of dozens of protesters, and the Chinese military saying it was ready to quell the "intolerable" unrest if requested. — AFP

August 2, 2019

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong gear up for more rallies in defiance of a series of warnings from China and after a prominent independence campaigner was arrested.

The semi-autonomous southern Chinese city has seen two months of unrest that was triggered by opposition to a planned extradition law but quickly evolved into a wider movement for democratic reforms.

Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing this week signalled a hardening stance, including with the arrests of dozens of protesters, and the Chinese military described the unrest as "intolerable". — AFP

August 1, 2019

China's military has released a slick propaganda video showing a drill of armed troops quelling a protest in Hong Kong, as its commander for the city voiced determination to maintain law and order following two months of pro-democracy rallies.

The double-barrel signals on Wednesday were the strongest public interventions from China's armed forces into the crisis, which has seen masses of people take to the global financial hub's streets to demand more freedoms.

The video, posted online by the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) garrison in Hong Kong, shows tanks, helicopters, rocket launchers and heavily armed troops in action across various locations of the semi-autonomous Chinese city. — AFP

July 31, 2019

Growing ranks of Hong Kong's typically conservative and publicity-shy bureaucrats have begun an unprecedented online dissent campaign against the city's pro-Beijing leaders over their response to weeks of violent pro-democracy protests.

Multiple open letters have been signed by hundreds of anonymous civil servants in the past week condemning the administration of city leader Carrie Lam and the police.

A group of civil servants have also announced plans to hold a rally on Friday night -- something unheard of from a demographic that usually eschews politics. — AFP

July 29, 2019

After weeks of increasingly violent protests, China's top policy body on Hong Kong affairs is set to hold an extremely rare press briefing Monday on the crisis engulfing the financial hub, where dozens of protesters were arrested in weekend clashes with police.

What began as a mass display of opposition to an extradition bill two months ago has morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement that has thrown down the most significant challenge to Beijing's authority since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

While China has issued increasingly shrill condemnations of the protests in the last two weeks, it has largely left the city's pro-Beijing administration to deal with the situation. 

So Monday’s highly unusual press briefing in Beijing by the cabinet-level Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office will be closely watched for any hint of more direct intervention. — Agence France-Presse

July 29, 2019

Riot police in Hong Kong launched volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets on Sunday during hours of running battles with pro-democracy protesters close to Beijing's office in the city, marking the second consecutive day officers have fired on demonstrators.

As the unauthorized protest occurred, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office -- China's top policy unit for the two cities -- said in an unusual move that it would hold a press conference Monday afternoon in Beijing.

Hong Kong, a global financial hub, is reeling from weeks of anti-government protests that show no sign of abating.

Sunday's melees took place in a well-heeled residential district close to the Liaison Office, which represents Beijing in the semi-autonomous territory.

Police and protesters had been engaged in a standoff for hours after tens of thousands of demonstrators held a series of unsanctioned marches through the city. -- Agence France-Presse

July 28, 2019

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters defy a police ban and began marching through Hong Kong, a day after riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in the latest violent confrontation to plunge the financial hub deeper into crisis.

Huge crowds gather in the heart of the city's commercial district on Sunday afternoon, after police gave permission for a static protest in a park but banned a proposed march through the city.

Yet protesters soon spilled into the streets outside the park and began marching in spite of the ban, ratcheting up the likelihood of renewed clashes.

July 27, 2019

Hong Kong police fire tear gas at protesters holding a banned rally against suspected triad gangs who beat up pro-democracy demonstrators near the Chinese border last weekend, tipping the finance hub further into chaos.

Riot police fire dozens of rounds of tear gas in Yuen Long, a town close to the border, after tense standoffs with protesters, some of whom were throwing projectiles and had surrounded a police van.

Public anger has been raging since last Sunday when a gang of men in white T-shirts, armed with poles and batons, set upon anti-government protesters and bystanders in Yuen Long station. — AFP

July 27, 2019

Crowds of Hong Kong protesters defy a police ban and begin gathering in a town close to the Chinese border to rally against suspected triad gangs who beat up pro-democracy demonstrators there last weekend.

Public anger has been raging since last Sunday when a gang of men in white t-shirts, armed with poles and batons, set upon anti-government protesters and bystanders in Yuen Long station, leaving at least 45 people needing hospital treatment.

The brazen assault was the latest escalation in seven weeks of unprecedented political violence that shows little sign of abating as the city's pro-Beijing leaders refuse to budge. — AFP

July 26, 2019

Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters, including flight attendants, hold a rally in the airport's arrival hall in a bid to "educate" visitors about the unprecedented demonstrations currently roiling the international finance hub.

The cavernous hall is usually filled with excited friends and relatives waiting to greet loved ones as they make their way out of one of the world's busiest airports.

But on Friday visitors were greeted with protesters chanting anti-government slogans, holding banners and handing out flyers.

The rally is the latest bid to keep pressure on Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leaders after seven weeks of largely peaceful mass demonstrations followed by violent clashes, an unprecedented challenge to Beijing's authority since the city's 1997 handover. — AFP

July 21, 2019

Another huge anti-government march kicks off in Hong Kong with seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing's rule.

The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history by weeks of marches and sporadic violent confrontations between police and pockets of hardcore protesters.

The initial protests were lit by a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

July 15, 2019

Anti-government protesters who fought police inside a Hong Kong shopping mall were "rioters," the finance hub's pro-Beijing leader says, as she threw her support behind the city's beleaguered police force following another weekend of clashes.

"They were committed to the duties, and also very professional and restrained. But they were wantonly attacked by rioters -- I think we can really describe them as rioters," City leader Carries Lam tells reporters.

Hong Kong's ongoing political crisis deepened further on Sunday as riot police and protesters fought running battles inside a shopping complex packed with luxury stores.

Police used pepper spray and batons against small groups of protesters, who responded by hurling umbrellas, bottles and other projectiles, in a night of fresh violence in the international hub.

Both officers and protesters were injured in the chaotic melee which left bloodstains on the floor and at least 28 people needing hospital treatment.

July 13, 2019

Clashes break out between police and Hong Kong demonstrators as the latest anti-government protests took aim at traders coming across the border from mainland China.

Police used pepper spray and batons against masked protesters in Sheung Shui, a town near the border with China, after thousands marched to complain about "parallel traders".

Sheung Shui boasts dozens of pharmacies and cosmetic stores that are hugely popular with mainland merchants who snap up goods in Hong Kong -- where there is no sales tax -- and resell them across the border. — AFP

July 9, 2019

A key Hong Kong protest group behind mass rallies against a widely loathed China extradition bill vowed on Tuesday to hold fresh protests as they rejected a promise from the city's leader that the bill was "dead".

"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 told reporters, adding details of the new protests would be released in due course. ?— Agence France-Presse

July 9, 2019

Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam announced Tuesday that a widely loathed proposal to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland "is dead"—but she again stopped short of protester demands to immediately withdraw the bill.

"There are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries (about) whether the government will restart the process with the Legislative Council. So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead," she said. 

The announcement comes after tens of thousands rallied Sunday against the bill in the harbor-front district of Tsim Sha Tsui, an area popular with Chinese tourists, ending their march at a high-speed train terminus that connects to the mainland. 

Police wielding batons and shields charged protesters late Sunday to disperse a few hundreds demonstrators who had refused to leave after the march.

AFP reporters saw multiple demonstrators detained by police after the fracas, their wrists bound with plastic handcuffs.

By early Monday only pockets of demontrators remained with police occupying key intersections around the protest area.

The scene of the clashes—Mongkok—is a densely-packed working class district, which has previously hosted running battles between police and anti-government protesters in 2014 and 2016. — Agence France-Presse

 

 

July 7, 2019

Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong plan to rally later outside a controversial station where high-speed trains depart for the Chinese mainland as they try to keep up pressure on the city's pro-Beijing leaders.

The rally is the first major protest planned since last Monday's unprecedented storming of parliament by largely young, masked protesters -- a move which plunged the international financial hub further into crisis.

Hong Kong has been rocked by a month of huge peaceful protests as well as a series of separate violent confrontations with police, sparked by a law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

The bill has since been postponed in response to the intense backlash but that has done little to quell public anger, which has evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous city. — AFP

July 2, 2019

Hong Kong Tuesday grappled with the aftermath of a night of unprecedented anti-government protests which saw parliament ransacked, as Beijing called for a criminal probe into the unparalleled challenge to its authority.

The semi-autonomous financial hub has been thrown into crisis by weeks of demonstrations over a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, with the issue becoming a lightning rod for resentment towards Beijing.

On Monday — the 22nd anniversary of the city's handover to China — anger spilt over as groups of mostly young, hardline protesters, breached the legislative council.

They hung the city's colonial-era flag in the debating chamber, scrawled messages such as "Hong Kong is not China" on walls, and defaced the city's seal with spray-paint.

Police charged into the building shortly after midnight to retake control. — Agence France-Presse

July 2, 2019

China's central government condemns the ransacking of Hong Kong's legislature and says it backs the city authorities to investigate the "criminal responsibility of violent offenders."

"These serious illegal actions trample on the rule of law in Hong Kong, undermine Hong Kong's social order and harm the fundamental interests of Hong Kong," the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council says in a statement by an unnamed spokesperson. — AFP

July 2, 2019

US President Donald Trump says protesters who stormed Hong Kong's parliament want democracy for the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

"Well, they're looking for democracy and I think most people want democracy. Unfortunately, some governments don't want democracy," Trump tells reporters at the White House.

"That's what it's all about. It's all about democracy. There's nothing better."

Earlier, Trump says the unrest in Hong Kong was "very sad."

July 1, 2019

Anti-government protesters stormed Hong Kong's parliament building late Monday after successfully smashing their way through reinforced glass windows and prising open metal shutters that were blocking their way.

Footage broadcast live on i-Cable News showed dozens of masked protesters, many carrying makeshift shields, swarming into the entrance of the building after hours of forcing their way in.

Riot police, who had earlier used pepper spray to try and beat the protesters back, appeared to have retreated deeper inside the complex. — Agence France-Presse

July 1, 2019

Anti-government protesters laid siege to Hong Kong's parliament on Monday as the territory marked its China handover anniversary, smashing windows, battling police armed with pepper spray and plunging the city further into crisis.

The angry scenes ramped up tensions in the financial hub which has been rocked by three weeks of historic demonstrations against a hugely unpopular bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

Tens of thousands of democracy activists staged another large, peaceful march through the city on Monday afternoon, calling for the city's pro-Beijing leader to step down and reverse what they see as years of sliding freedoms.

But that rally was overshadowed by small groups of mainly young, masked protesters who seized roads and tried to break into the legislature, sparking renewed clashes with police after two weeks of relative calm.

Under blazing summer skies the young demonstrators made multiple attempts to smash into the building, using a metal cart as a battering ram and wielding steel poles to prize open gaps in the reinforced windows. 

Riot police inside the building wore gas masks as they squirted pepper spray at protesters, who unfurled umbrellas to shield themselves. — Agence France-Presse

July 1, 2019

Anti-government protesters trying to ram their way into Hong Kong's parliament battled police armed with pepper spray Monday as the territory marked the anniversary of its handover to China.

The angry scenes ramped up tensions in the international financial hub, which has been shaken by historic demonstrations in the past three weeks -- driven by demands for the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

Democracy activists kicked off another large march through the city on Monday afternoon. 

But that rally was overshadowed by small groups of mainly young, masked protesters who had seized three key thoroughfares in the morning, sparking renewed clashes with police after two weeks of relative calm. 

They smashed windows at the city's legislature and tried to force their way into the building by ramming a metal cart through reinforced glass doors. 

Riot police inside the building wore gas masks as they squirted pepper spray at protesters, who unfurled umbrellas to shield themselves. — Agence France-Presse

July 1, 2019

Hong Kong police use pepper spray and batons early Monday against anti-government protesters who had taken over a key road as the city marks the anniversary of its handover to China.

Riot police swoop on protesters who had blockaded a street in the Wanchai district, an AFP reporter at the scene says, with at least one female protester seen bleeding from a head wound after the clashes. — AFP

July 1, 2019

Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong take over key roads early Monday morning of a mass planned pro-democracy rally on the anniversary of the city's handover to China.

AFP reporters on the scene saw at least three major thoroughfares seized by young, masked demonstrators who used metal and plastic barriers to blockade the streets. 

Rows of riot police with helmets and shields are facing protesters at Fenwick Pier Street but are not moving on protesters as dawn rose over the financial hub. — AFP

June 30, 2019

Once dubbed "Asia's Finest", Hong Kong's police are fighting allegations of using excessive violence against protesters, their headquarters besieged twice in the last week as calls for an independent inquiry into their tactics swell.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Wu Chi-wai was aghast as thick clouds of tear gas drifted through Hong Kong's streets and rubber bullets slammed into ranks of protesters.

The international finance hub witnessed the worst political violence in a generation as police fought largely young demonstrators opposed to a now postponed plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

The tear gas was initially deployed against small but hardcore groups of protesters — some throwing projectiles and using metal barriers as battering rams — who were trying to occupy the city's parliament on June 12.

But the police response morphed into a sweeping clearance operation as officers turned their weapons on larger, mostly peaceful crowds of demonstrators who had occupied nearby roads.

Wu found himself in between police and demonstrator lines as a tear gas canister exploded behind him.

In scenes caught on video that went viral, Wu calmly walked towards the police, his hands raised, asking to speak to the commanding officer. 

"I believe I posed no threat to the police and I wanted to be a mediator," he recalled to AFP. "I hoped the police would allow the protesters to leave safely and peacefully."

But his pleas fell on deaf ears. Police fired a round of tear gas close to his feet and he was forced to retreat. — Agence France-Presse

June 26, 2019

Hong Kong protesters march to major consulates as they called on G20 nations to confront fellow member China at an upcoming summit in Japan over sliding freedoms in the financial hub.

The semi-autonomous city has been shaken by huge demonstrations this month with protesters demanding the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

The massive rallies are the latest manifestation of growing fears that China is stamping down on the city's unique freedoms and culture.

China has said it will not allow discussion of the protests in Hong Kong at the G20 summit in Osaka later this week -- although US President Donald Trump has said he plans to raise the issue during a planned meeting with President Xi Jinping. — AFP

June 21, 2019

Thousands of black-clad protesters block a highway outside Hong Kong's parliament, demanding the resignation of the city's pro-Beijing leader over a controversial extradition proposal that has sparked the territory's biggest political crisis in decades.

The protest comes after the government refused to meet the demands of demonstrators who have marched in their millions to oppose a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland. — AFP

June 20, 2019

Hong Kong opposition groups call for another major demonstration on Thursday after the pro-Beijing government did not respond to demands of protesters who have shaken the city with massive rallies.

Millions have marched this month to oppose a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to the Chinese mainland, but the huge protest movement has morphed into a larger rebuke of Hong Kong's administration.

Under-fire chief executive Carrie Lam has apologised and suspended the controversial bill, but that has failed to quell the opposition, with protesters demanding she step down and completely withdraw the legislation.

A number of protest groups, including student unions, called for supporters to mobilise on Friday, asking people to gather at the city's main government complex to "hold picnics" outside the legislature starting 7:00 am on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday).

They also recommended a go-slow protest on roads and public transport, and urged people to gather in other parts of the city to show their support.

"Blossom everywhere," read a statement circulated in a chat group on the messaging app Telegram by eight informal protest groups. —Agence France-Presse

June 20, 2019

Hong Kong student groups are preparing to mobilize support for another major demonstration, a union leader says, as a Thursday, June 20, deadline approached for the pro-Beijing government to respond to demands of protesters who have shaken the city with massive rallies.

Millions have marched this month to oppose a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to the Chinese mainland, but the huge protest movement has morphed into a larger rebuke of Hong Kong's administration. — AFP

June 19, 2019

Members of Hong Kong's legislature meet Wednesday for the first time since the largest anti-government protest in the city's history, with many opposition lawmakers slamming the pro-Beijing administration's handling of the crisis.

Hong Kong has been shaken by a series of massive demonstrations against a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, and the city's police force has been criticized for using excessive force to disperse protesters.

Videos of police beating unarmed protesters went viral and sparked public anger, and the tactics were widely condemned. Police said force was necessary to fend off protesters throwing bricks and metal bars. -- Agence France-Presse

June 17, 2019

Protesters end highway occupation outside Hong Kong's parliament.

June 17, 2019

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong calls on the city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam to resign after he walked free from prison as historic anti-government protests rocked the city.

"She is no longer qualified to be Hong Kong's leader," Wong tells reporters.

"She must take the blame and resign, be held accountable and step down."

June 17, 2019

Joshua Wong, the student leader who became the face of Hong Kong's "Umbrella Movement" democracy protests in 2014, was released from prison on Monday, an AFP reporter at the scene says.

Wong, clutching a small box of belongings and dressed in a white shirt, walked free from Lai Chi Kok Correctional Institute and was swiftly mobbed by media and supporters. 

June 17, 2019

Organizers say "almost two million" people turned out for Sunday's mammoth protest in Hong Kong opposed to a deeply unpopular extradition law, an estimate that is nearly double last weekend's already record-breaking crowds. 

"Today's march we had almost 2 million people," Jimmy Sham, from the Civil Human Rights Front, tells reporters. 

Millions march in Hong Kong in a powerful rebuke of an extradition law feared to expose them to China's capricious justice system.

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