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Hong Kong Police Push Back Pro-Democracy Protesters

Pro-democracy protesters set up a new roadblock close to the chief executive office in Hong Kong late Sunday.
Tyrone Siu
Pro-democracy protesters set up a new roadblock close to the chief executive office in Hong Kong late Sunday.

In Hong Kong, thousands of pro-democracy protesters wearing hard hats and masks clashed with police as they attempted to storm the office of the territory's leader, who they have repeatedly demanded step down.

Chanting "Surround government headquarters!" and "Open the road!" students marched toward buildings in Admiralty, next to Hong Kong's central business district, according to Reuters.

The news agency said that "scores of protesters with wooden shields and metal barricades charged police as officers warned them to retreat. Police, who have been accused of using excessive force, struck demonstrators with batons in a bid to push them back."

NPR's Frank Langfitt, reporting from Hong Kong, says that protesters "surged forward against lines of cops, banging the aluminum walls of a construction site as they went.

"They seized a major road downtown to cut off access to the government complex," Frank says. "But police counterattacked, swinging batons, firing pepper spray, detaining protesters and re-taking the road."

The South China Morning Post reports that the protesters "thronged around government headquarters and Tamar Park and began trying to breach police lines at various points."

The English-language daily said: "Two key areas of violence — some of which left protesters bloodied and requiring first aid treatment by makeshift medics as police used pepper spray and baton charges to repel attempts breach their lines — were Lung Wo Road and the walkways connecting Harcourt Road to government headquarters."

The SCMP reported that "fresh trouble" also flared at a student protest site in Mong Kok on the other side of the harbor in Kowloon, where police and protesters briefly clashed.

The protests, which have gone on for more than two months, are aimed at forcing unpopular Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down and for Beijing to fulfill its promise of open elections for his successor.

While many in the former British colony initially supported the student-led protests, frustration has set in amid no sign of government concessions.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.