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HK protests continue as China slams UN commissioner’s remarks

HONG KONG: Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong yesterday, ending a lull in violence, as residents took to the streets.

The protest in the busy shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui followed a march by hundreds of people to the US consulate to show "gratitude" for US support for the demonstrations.

Shops in the area closed early as police sprayed tear gas at protesters as they marched past the city's Kowloon waterfront, home to luxury hotels and shopping malls.

ARRESTS

Police made several arrests as the tear gas sent hundreds fleeing towards the harbour.

Some black-clad protesters wearing gas masks built barricades and blocked roads near luxury stores, including Armani, while others headed towards Hung Hom, a district near the ruined campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

By last night, the crowds of protesters had diminished and some roads reopened to traffic.

Police said hundreds of "rioters" had hurled smoke bombs, "stirring up public fear and causing chaos" which forced them to fire tear gas.

In a related development, China accused the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of emboldening "radical violence" in Hong Kong by suggesting the city's leader conduct an investigation into reports of excessive use of force by police.

UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet wrote in an opinion piece on Saturday in the South China Morning Post that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's government must prioritise "meaningful, inclusive" dialogue to resolve the crisis.

China's UN mission in Geneva said that Ms Bachelet's article interferes in the internal affairs of China and exerts pressure on the city's government and police, which "will only embolden the rioters to conduct more severe radical violence."

It said Ms Bachelet made "inappropriate comments" and the Chinese side had lodged a strong protest in response. - REUTERS, AP

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