Updated Aug 11, 2019

Hong Kong police fire tear gas on protesters as thousands rally across city

Protesters throw back tear gas fired by the police in Sham Shui Po district in Hong Kong Sunday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong police again fired tear gas at protesters, as thousands of people defied a ban to rally on the streets in several districts and at the international airport Sunday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Activists have been repeatedly met with tear gas by riot police, as Hong Kongers mark the 10th straight weekend of protests. The former British colony retained a high degree of autonomy when it was returned to China in 1997 — including the freedom to protest and an independent judiciary. Hong Kongers worry that’s all crumbling as the Chinese Communist Party tightens its grip on the territory, per Axios' Dave Lawler.

The big picture: In a repeat of Saturday night's clashes with riot police, officers repeatedly fired tear gas at demonstrators — this time, mostly in the working class district of Sham Shui Po, according to Reuters. In nearby Cheung Sha Wan, protesters threw objects at police who fired back with tear gas.

  • By Sunday afternoon, over 1,000 protesters peacefully gathered at the airport arrivals hall, chanting "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our time." Reuters reports thousands more suffered through searing heat to gather at the city’s Victoria Park, including elderly people and families with children.
  • Police said they arrested 16 people during Saturday's protests on charges that include unlawful assembly and possession of an offensive weapon, taking the total number of arrests to more than 600 since protests began in June, according to Reuters.
  • Demands include greater freedoms from China and the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam.

Background: The movement started as a protest against a bill that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong residents to the mainland to stand trial. Lam declared the bill "dead."

  • Hong Kongers remain concerned the bill could still be introduced, with protest leaders noting, "We cannot find the word 'dead' in any of the laws in Hong Kong or in any legal proceedings in the Legislative Council."

What they're saying: Joshua Wong, the pro-democracy protest leader who became a symbol of Hong Kong's 2014 Umbrella Movement, tweeted Sunday that demonstrators are demanding the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill and the implementation of universal suffrage. Per Wong, they're also calling for:

  • Authorities to retract the proclamation that the protests are riots.
  • Charges to be dropped against arrested protesters and an independent investigation into "police brutality."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest details on the protests.

Go deeper: Podcast: Behind the Hong Kong protests

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