Tear gas used to disperse thousands of protesters in Hong Kong

Tear gas used to disperse thousands of protesters in Hong Kong
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Hong Kong police on Sunday used tear gas to break up a gathering of thousands of anti-government demonstrators who initially gathered in a park before spreading out into the city’s streets, according to Reuters.

Police chased protesters and made several arrests after they left the park and began marching. Organizers of the demonstration had applied for a march permit but only received police permission for a gathering in place, according to Reuters.

Organizers said police have begun arriving ahead of time at demonstration sites in riot gear and conducting “stop and search” operations.

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“Everyone understands that there’s a risk of stop-and-search or mass arrests. I appreciate Hong Kong people still come out courageously, despite the risk,” organizer Ventus Lau told the news service.

Lau, who was arrested later Sunday evening on charges of breaching authorities’ rally conditions and police obstruction, said the protest movement that began last summer were in danger of losing momentum if international attention flagged.

“I think Hong Kong has not been the focus of the world anymore,” Lau said, according to The Associated Press.

The demonstrations began in protest of a bill that would have allowed the extradition of certain criminal suspects to China, but after the bill was withdrawn, demonstrations have continued, with protesters calling for Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation and an independent probe into police tactics.