Pro-democracy protesters attacked at Hong Kong train station

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A crowd of men attacked protesters against Hong Kong’s government with sticks and metal bars Monday, injuring dozens of protesters, journalists and at least one legislator, according to a New York Times report.

The attack, which occurred in and near the Yuen Long train station in the northwestern part of the city, injured dozens and came after skirmishes between demonstrators and police earlier in the evening, according to the Times.

{mosads}While the protests began over a since-suspended bill that would allow some citizens to be extradited to China, they have continued since the bill was pulled, with protesters demanding Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation and an independent probe into heavy-handed police tactics.

Police’s failure to protect demonstrators will likely exacerbate these issues, the Times noted.

Lam responded Monday, saying she condemned both the beatings and protesters’ vandalism of the Chinese government’s liaison office on Sunday, saying the latter “hurt the nation’s feelings,” according to the newspaper.

Injured demonstrators speculated their attackers may have been associated with the triads, criminal organizations with branches in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as well as mainland China, according to the Times.

“I have strong reason to believe they were gangsters,” said Lam Cheuk-ting, a pro-democracy lawmaker who needed 18 stitches after the attack. “I don’t think any ordinary citizens have done such sophisticated, organized attacks on this kind of level.”

Riot police are visible in one picture speaking to two masked men holding metal bars and patting one on the shoulder before leaving, according to the Times, which the lawmaker called “unbelievable.”

“The behavior of the police force is really disgusting and shameless,” he added.

Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo defended the police response and blamed the ongoing protests for the lack of a timely reaction, according to the Times.

“Our manpower is stretched because every time when there is a major event which will lead to violent confrontations we have to deploy some manpower from various districts to Hong Kong Island,” he said.

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