Hong Kong: Tear gas and petrol bombs as police and protesters clash

Hong Kong police have fired tear gas and used a water cannon on anti-government protesters – who responded by throwing petrol bombs toward police lines.

Sky News witnessed the confrontation outside government headquarters.

Protesters pointed laser beams at police and appeared to throw objects over large barriers keeping them away from the building.

Demonstrators take cover as police fires tear gas during Saturday's protest in Hong Kong
Image: Demonstrators take cover as police fires tear gas

Officers responded by firing tear gas into the crowds from the other side of the barriers. Police later fired blue-coloured water from a cannon at them too.

Protesters took cover behind umbrellas, but Reuters reported that some responded by throwing petrol bombs toward police lines.

Demonstrators throw Molotov cocktails at a governmental building during a protest in Hong Kong, China on Saturday
Image: Demonstrators throw petrol bombs at a governmental building during Saturday’s protest

Earlier in the day, people took to the streets in a largely peaceful, meandering rally through the city’s downtown.

Sky’s Alex Crawford said there was a sense that tear gas and water cannon are not as effective at dispersing the crowds anymore.

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“They are very used to it. They are very hardened. And they are utterly undeterred,” she said, as protesters around her, wearing helmets and gas masks, crouched in anticipation of further police action.

Protesters deal with tear gas canisters fired by police in Hong Kong
Image: Protesters deal with tear gas canisters fired by police in Hong Kong

However, Alex Crawford said there is still a great deal of fear and anxiety about the demonstrations.

“It’s all very well being brave in a huge crowd. It’s very different when you are getting arrested on your own at 7 o’clock in the morning,” she said, in reference to a number of prominent pro-democracy activists including Joshua Wong arrested on Friday.

Petrol Bombs Rain Down During Violent Clashes Between Police and Protesters in Hong Kong
Protesters throw petrol bombs at police

The protesters retreated when police arrived to clear them from the area, but reassembled later on Saturday.

They built a barricade and set a fire in the heart of Hong Kong’s commercial district.

The fire was later extinguished by firefighters, with the protesters retreating ahead of a police advance.

Police in riot gear prepared to clear the street, but most of the protesters had already left.

They arrested a few people while trying to re-establish control.

“Protesters have taken over large sections of the city centre, and now the police are trying to take control,” Alex Crawford said.

A demonstrator stands next to a burning barricade
Image: A demonstrator stands next to a burning barricade

Authorities had previously turned down an application for the march to the Chinese government office to mark the fifth anniversary of a decision by China’s ruling Communist Party against fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

But protesters took to the streets anyway in what is the 13th straight weekend of demonstrations that have plunged the Chinese-ruled city into its worst political crisis in decades.

The protests were originally sparked by a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed extraditions to China.

The demonstrators are demanding full withdrawal of the bill, democractic elections and an inquiry into alleged police brutality.

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