Anti-government protesters who fought running battles with police inside a Hong Kong shopping center were “rioters,” city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam said Monday.
Lam supported the actions of police force, saying that police and prosecutors will press charges following investigations.
Police used batons and pepper spray to disperse thousands of protesters who again took to the streets of a Hong Kong suburb Sunday to demand the complete withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China, as well as Lam’s resignation.
The protest in Sha Tin was peaceful through most of the day, but scuffles broke out between police and the demonstrators as the day came to an end. Some protesters ran into a luxurious shopping complex where the scuffles continued.
Riot police try to disperse protesters inside a mall in Sha Tin District in Hong Kong, July 14, 2019.
Riot police continued to use 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
Hong Kong has been the site of 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 and other countries.
After several weeks of controversy and large, angry street protests, Lam said in June that 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 for genuine elections.