Hong Kong protests: police fire teargas as thousands rally against Beijing's national security law

Armoured vehicles and water cannon deployed earlier to tackle protests amid China plans to force through security laws

Verna Yu in Hong Kong, Helen Davidson, and Lily Kuo in Beijing

The Times


홍콩, 국가보안법 적용 조치로 시민들 거리로 뛰쳐 나와

   홍콩 경찰은 반자율 지역에 국가보안법을 적용하겠다는 중국 정부의 선언에 항의하여 수천 명이 거리로 나온 후 군중들에게 최루탄, 후추 스프레이, 물대포를 사용했다.

경찰은 시위대가 "대혼란을 초래했다"며 불법 집회와 공공장소에서의 위법행위로 일요일 최소 180명이 체포됐다고 밝혔다.

경찰과 언론 보도에 따르면, 시위대가 바리케이드를 세우는 것에 반대하는 두 사람을 포함해 여러 명이 병원에 입원했다고 한다.

시위자들은 홍콩 도심에서 행진과 무단 집회에 참석하기 위해 사회적 거리를 두는 법을 무시했는데, 이는 전염병이 시작된 이래 가장 큰 집회 중 하나입니다. 지난해 행진이나 집회와 달리 시위대는 경찰의 가혹한 진압을 예상하고 눈에 띄게 긴장했다.

경찰이 시위 시작 30분 만에 최루탄 여러 발을 발사했을 때 많은 군중들이 헤네시 도로를 평화롭게 행진하기 시작했다.

상점들과 건물들은 재빨리 문을 닫았고, 사람들은 옆길과 육교로 뛰어들었다가 곧 홍콩의 가장 번화한 간선도로로 돌아왔다. 단체들은 경찰이 거리를 따라 사람들을 쫓는 동안 임시 바리케이드를 쌓았고, 그들을 수색하기 위해 다른 사람들을 체포하고 검거했다.

이달 초 만행 혐의로 경찰청에 의해 무혐의 처분을 받은 경찰은 최루탄과 후추 스프레이, 물대포를 반복 배치했다. 밤이 깊어지자 경찰이 남은 시위대들을 정리하려 하자 시위대와 전경들이 대치하는 상황이 계속됐다.

황기철 콘페이퍼 에디터 큐레이터

Ki Chul Hwang, conpaper editor, curator

edited by kcontents

Hong Kong police have used teargas, pepper spray and water cannon on crowds after thousands took to the streets in protest against Beijing’s declaration that it intends to impose national security laws on the semi-autonomous region.

At least 180 people were arrested on Sunday for illegal assembly and misconduct in public places, according to police, who accused protesters of having “wreaked havoc”.

Several people were hospitalised, including two people who objected to protesters building roadblocks, according to police and media reports.

Protesters defied social distancing laws to attend an unauthorised rally and march in downtown Hong Kong, one of the biggest gatherings since the pandemic began. In contrast to marches and rallies last year, demonstrators were visibly tense in anticipation of a harsh police crackdown.

Hong Kong police fire teargas as thousands rally against China's new security law – video

Large crowds had begun peacefully marching up Hennessy Road when police fired multiple rounds of teargas within 30 minutes of the protest’s official start time.

Shops and buildings quickly shut their doors, and people ran into side streets and pedestrian overpasses before soon returning to Hong Kong’s busiest arterial main road. Groups built makeshift barricades as police chased people through streets, making arrests and rounding up others to search them.

Police, who were controversially cleared earlier this month by the police watchdog of accusations of brutality, repeatedly deployed tear gas, pepper spray, and water cannon. As night fell, groups of protesters and riot police continued to face off as police tried to clear the remaining demonstrators.

The rally, which was planned last week in relation to another controversial law that would criminalise ridicule of the Chinese national anthem, took on fresh urgency after Beijing revealed its plans last week to force a sweeping anti-sedition law on Hong Kong.

One 30-year-old protester, who gave her name as Ms Chan, told the Guardian: “Even if there’s a risk of being arrested, I’d still come out, I’ll fight till my last breath.”

A protester who gave his name as Mr Hui, 75, said he was there “to protect my home”. “I witnessed several decades of the Chinese Communist party’s misdeeds, I escaped to Hong Kong [from mainland China] 40 years ago,” he said.

“Now they have completely ruined Hong Kong. I am here to protect my home. We’re the real patriots, not the Communist party.”

The announcement by China appears to have increased anti-Beijing sentiment in Hong Kong and prompted calls from the protesters for Hong Kong’s complete independence – something absent from their demands so far. Despite accusations by Hong Kong and Chinese authorities of separatism, the pro-democracy movement officially has just five core demands, none of which are independence.

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