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A sigh of relief for Hong Kong as weekend protest ends without violence

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Asia | August 19, 2019 4:11:30 AM IST
Protests in the special administrative region here were observed with peace on Sunday.

The region for several weekends now has been witnessing aggressive protests.

Groups of protesters, however, dipped into their standard toolkit to hurl insults and hard objects at police and shine laser beams at the force's headquarters in Wan Chai, South China Morning Post reported.

Nonetheless, Hong Kong recorded three straight days of demonstrations that ended with no physical clashes between protesters and police, in a break from the troubling pattern of the past few weeks, which had prompted condemnation from the central and local governments.

Organisers from the Civil Human Rights Front estimated millions people were at the core of the march.

"There were large numbers of people from Causeway Bay to Central that we were unable to take into account, so I believe the actual turnout is much larger than the recorded 1.7 million," the front's convener, Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, said.

"Today has been peaceful, which is exactly what [Hong Kong leader] Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor asked for ... Lam must respond to the five demands in order to show Hongkongers' peaceful and rational expression can be heard, accepted and met," Sham added.

He was referring to the list of calls from protesters, including those for a complete withdrawal of the now-abandoned extradition bill and an independent probe into the polices' use of force.

"If she continues to turn a deaf ear, she will be instigating more radical struggles," Sham was quoted as saying.

It is also worth mentioning that a government spokesman this time did not use the word "condemn" and described the rally as "generally peaceful", even though the demonstrators, he noted, had occupied main roads, causing traffic jams and disruption.

"The most important thing currently is to restore social order as soon as possible. The government will begin sincere dialogue with the public, mend social rifts and rebuild social harmony when everything has calmed down," the spokesman said.

In recent weeks, protesters and police both had escalated their use of force as the campaign against the extradition bill morphed into a full-blown anti-government movement. (ANI)

 
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