Police used batons and pepper spray to disperse thousands of protesters who again took to the streets of a Hong Kong suburb to demand the complete withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China, as well as the resignation of the Beijing-approved leader Carrie Lam.
The protest in Sha Tin was peaceful through most of Sunday, but scuffles broke out between police and the demonstrators as the day came to an end. Some protesters ran into a local shopping mall where the scuffles continued.
Riot police used pepper spray and batons to clear protesters from the mall while demonstrators were seen using umbrellas and other make-shift weapons to fight police.
Protesters have begun taking their marches to farther-flung areas of Hong Kong in an effort to reach the wider population. Sha Tin is located in the New Territories close to the border with mainland China, and is popular with mainland visitors.
Organizers said 110,000 protesters took part, while police put the number at 28,000, according to broadcaster RTHK.
Anti-extradition bill protesters rally in Sha Tin district, Hong Kong, July 14, 2019.
Hong Kong has been the site of weekend demonstrations for weeks.
The protests began because of the controversial extradition bill that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong criminal suspects to mainland China.
After several weeks of controversy and large, angry street protests, Lam recently said the extradition bill is “dead.”
But the protests have continued. Some are demanding Lam’s resignation, others an investigation into complaints of police violence and some called genuine elections.
Residents of Hong Kong do not directly choose their leaders, rather they are picked from a pool of candidates approved by the Communist regime in Beijing.
The former British colony was granted special autonomy for 50 years after it returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. But many in Hong Kong are concerned that China is slowly encroaching on those rights and tightening its grip on the territory.