World

HK protesters pause to mark 9/11 terror attacks in New York

HONG KONG: Activists in Hong Kong called off protests yesterday in remembrance of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the US and denounced a Chinese state newspaper report that they were planning "massive terror" in the city.

Hong Kong has been rocked by months of sometimes violent unrest, prompted by anger over planned legislation to allow extraditions to China but broadening into calls for democracy and for Communist Party rulers in Beijing to leave the city alone.

"Anti-government fanatics are planning massive terror attacks, including blowing up gas pipes, in Hong Kong on Sept 11," the Hong Kong edition of the China Daily said on Facebook with a picture of the attack in New York. "The 9/11 terror plot also encourages indiscriminate attacks on non-native speakers of Cantonese and starting mountain fires."

It said "leaked information was part of the strategy being schemed by radical protesters in their online chat rooms".

"We don't even need to do a fact check to know that this is fake news," said one protester, Michael, 24, referring to the China Daily post. "The state media doesn't care about its credibility."

The protesters called off action yesterday.

"In solidarity against terrorism, all forms of protest in Hong Kong will be suspended on Sept 11, apart from potential singing and chanting," they said.

The China Daily report was worrying, said another protester, Karen, 23.

"When they try to frame the whole protest with those words, it alarms me," she said. "They are predicting rather than reporting. I think people calling it off today is a nice move." - REUTERS

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