HONG KONG (AP) — Protesters marched through an outlying district of Hong Kong on Saturday in a renewed outpouring of grievances against the Chinese territory’s government.
The march by several thousand people in Tuen Mun on Hong Kong’s northwest was relatively small compared with previous weekends. There was no violence, in contrast to previous protests that included clashes with police.
Hong Kong is in its fourth month of protests that started with opposition to a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include demands for greater democracy.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong media reported scuffles as government supporters heeded a call by a pro-Beijing politician to tear down protest posters at some subway stations.
Protesters burn a Chinese flag in Hong Kong, Sept. 21 (CNA photo)
The protests are an embarrassment for China’s ruling Communist Party ahead of Oct. 1 celebrations of its 70th anniversary in power. The Hong Kong government announced earlier a fireworks display that day was canceled due to concern about public safety.
Protesters on Saturday, most of them dressed in black and many carrying umbrellas, a symbol of the movement, chanted, “Reclaim Hong Kong!” and “Revolution of our times!”
Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, agreed earlier to withdraw the extradition bill. But protesters are pressing other demands including for an independent investigation of complaints about police violence during earlier demonstrations.
(Associated Press Photo)
Protesters complain Beijing and Lam’s government are eroding the “high degree of autonomy” and Western-style civil liberties promised to the former British colony when it was returned to China in 1997.
The protests have begun to weigh on Hong Kong’s economy, which already was slowing due to cooling global consumer demand. The Hong Kong airport said passenger traffic fell in August and business is off at hotels and retailers.
Police refused permission for Saturday’s march, which stretched about 2 kilometers (1 1/2 miles) from a playground to a government office building in Tuen Mun. An appeal tribunal overturned that on Friday, giving permission for the march but limiting it to 3 to 5 p.m.
Protesters in Tuen Mun also complained about a group of women from mainland China who sing in a local park. Residents complain they are too loud and accuse some of asking for money or engaging in prostitution.
Police take to the streets in Hong Kong, Saturday, Sept. 21 (CNA photo)
Those complaints prompted a similar march in July.
Also Saturday, there were brief scuffles as government supporters tore down protest posters at several subway stops, according to government broadcaster RTHK.
The campaign to tear down protest materials was initiated by a pro-Beijing member of Hong Kong’s legislature, Junius Ho.
Near the subway station in the Tsuen Wan neighborhood, a woman who was tearing down posters threw a bag at a reporter and a man shoved a cameraman, RTHK reported. It said there was pushing and shoving between the two sides at stations in Yuen Long and Lok Fu.
Ho made an appearance in the Shau Kei Wan neighborhood but residents shouted at him and told him to leave, RTHK said.
Ho initially called for protest signs to be torn down in all 18 of Hong Kong’s districts but he said Friday that would be reduced to clearing up trash from streets due to “safety concerns.”
On Wednesday, the Hong Kong Jockey Club canceled a horse race after some protesters suggested targeting the club because a horse owned by Ho was due to run.
Later Saturday, some protesters planned to go to another district, Yuen Long, where a group of men with sticks hit protesters and subway passengers in a July 21 incident that caused controversy in Hong Kong.
Protestors wave an American flag (Associated Press photo)